I never mean to wake it, the nocturnal beast in me. Lately it sleeps lightly, lighter than I, and it crawls into bed with me just as I’m settling, just as I’m drifting. It crawls into my ear, moth-like and sticky, reeking of sex and piss and the way your mouth tastes when you first wake up, and it slithers under my nose and it wakens me. The free fall of sleep is stopped and the pit of my stomach is a pit of snakes and I feel something inside me begin to swirl and swoop and wind its way through me, cleaving my thighs and pressing my fingers to the sacrilege between them. Once it takes hold no gnashing of teeth or scratching of skin will quell the itch. I’ll be sleepless for want of you, alone in the dark, willing you to me, calling in choked whispers, your name, always your name. My body is awake and it needs you in this darkness, craves you in this inky dream. Come to me and be my nocturnal beast.