When I took my mattress my duvet and their dreams

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#posts #[poetry]

I said I was keeping them for safety and I almost believed it. I laid down in the middle of the nearest woodland and named it Mine. I rigged canvas between two branches but the wind whistled through my bone marrow. Waking in the night, I started a fire, using their dreams as kindling. I had plenty to spare. Still I did not sleep soundly, So I felled the ancient oaks and built a bed frame from the trunks, raising myself above the cold ground. When this failed, I chopped down every tree I could see, whittled and planed the wood to planks, transformed the land to make myself a shelter, created walls around my bed to define outside.

I buried more dreams beneath the floorboards for insulation, allowed them to grow mould spotted and damp. Still I did not sleep soundly. I knew that they would return for their dreams, some day soon. I imagined them all heading over the fields, a large crowd not stopped by frost or rain, for I had taken the dreams of many and named them Mine.

No one came and no one stopped me, so I declared all the surrounding land to be mine, planted thick hedges of briar and thorns and enclosed myself. The rest of their dreams I traded for gold, enough precious metal to hire men with weapons. I made them patrol my borders, watching for trespassers. Still I did not sleep soundly. My duvet felt like steel, my mattress like stone. I sent my militia into neighbouring territories to seek out those who might invade my land, take back their dreams that I hoarded. As my army conquered and placed a flag that read Mine, my dominion grew, but never by enough. Even as my land reached beyond the horizon I felt a gnawing for what lay beyond.

I spent my long nights patrolling my palace, looking out to my silent gardens, thinking I saw the shadows move, the mob come to drag me away and demand what I had stolen from them. I chewed on the last remaining scraps of their dreams, my teeth gluing together, the bitter taste making my eyes water.

Thanks as always to Bristol Tonic, whose prompt inspired this poem. I had a lot of fun performing it with improvised harp music.

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