Pray for Stronger Locks

by Kimberly Casey

When he fell asleep with closet doors open
he would wake up damaged.
Grind church pews into his knees
and carve his fingertips to steeples unbreakable.
Started sleeping with a bell tower under his pillowcase
hand twisted around the rope at all times.
Rituals patterned their way into bedtime stories
brush your teeth, check the closet
wash your face, check the closet
get pajamas, check the closet
shut off the lights, don’t even look at the closet-
hum yourself a cloak, hooded, hide in blankets
and concentrate on breathing.
Every creak of the house speaks of opening doors
erase hinges from existence
pray for stronger locks.
The wolves, cemented statues
on his closet shelves would start to stir,
angry and hungry.