“Paranoia” by Scott Wiggerman

The arctic crest of night is when
I wake, struggling to know from where
the icy breath has emanated. Who
is in the room with me? What
ghost arrests my sleep, and how
did he enter? I fear to discover why.

In the silo of a dream lies why,
buried in kernels since who knows when.
A rodent scrambles down walls. How
impenetrable the depths where
it scratches, clawing at what
can only be a shadow of someone who

once meant something, someone who
indicts with vacant eyes, accusing, “Why?”
My eyes shut, but abruptly open with what
sounds like a screech. This is when
I realize I am in a place where
no one can hear how my heart lurches, how

my flesh prickles with fear, how
my scream impales on my tongue. Who
is here with me? There is nowhere
to hide, nothing but darkness. Why
have my senses left just when
I need them to steer me from what

must be a nightmare? Terror is what
the specters provoke; it’s how
the blood churns like a speeding train; it’s when
the heebie-jeebies overcome who-
ever dares to ask the question why.
In the madness of the silo, where

demons haunt but never die, where
apprehensions chatter like teeth, what
hope have I to find out why?
I shiver in cold stone walls. How
long will I remain interred like one who
is called before his time? When, oh, when?

Never is when. Sleep is where
I never rest. Who can save me is what
I must somehow find, the awful pursuit of why.


Scott Wiggerman is the author of three books of poetry, Leaf and Beak: Sonnets, Presence, and Vegetables and Other Relationships; and the editor of several volumes, including Wingbeats: Exercises & Practice in Poetry, Bearing the Mask, and Weaving the Terrain.  Poems have appeared recently in Chiron Review, Unlost, Pinyon Review, Better than Starbucks, and Allegro Poetry, as well as the anthology Lovejets. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with his husband, the writer David Meischen.