they covered the leaves
the fat white slugs
sightless grubs
peculiar things that seemed
out of place
in the fairy tale forest
of once upon a time
dying slowly
with no princess
to save
nor witch
in a cottage
at the end of
the long winding path
tucked between
leaning trees
with gnarled branches
and closer.

the maggots, for
that is
what they were
all raised slightly
as he warily
moved one tired foot
in front of the other
they turned towards him
just a puckered sphincter
he was sure
held too many
sharp teeth
his jaw tightened
arm hairs rose
a bead of sweat
ran down his spine.

he wanted
to wake
to run
to escape
but it was useless
he knew that
if he knew
he knew that
the first
pale bloated meal worm
coiled and sprang
it slapped his face
below the eye
held like a leech
to his cheek
he screamed
allowing more
to spring
into his open mouth
down his retching throat.


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