These foster children’s faces trouble into sleep,
twitched and hyper-vigilant.
Dream pursuers peek through window shades,
rows of shark-tooth dog-men no one can outrun.
Their mattresses are lined with plastic sheets,
the monsters beaten back by guanfacine.
Knives and hammers locked away along with meds and
scissors, sharpened pencils, crowbars, pushpins, bleach.
On a good night nothing more gets broken,
not bones or walls or wills or windowpanes.
The triggers — almost always nothing
anyone outside their minds can hear or see:
eyebrow fluctuation or unconscious variation
of inflection, or dream-beasts bearing down, bared teeth.
Leland Seeseh’s poems appear in Juked, The MacGuffin, Stonecoast Review, and many other journals. He and his wife live in Seattle with a revolving cast of foster, adopted, and bio children.