Hey, Ma, Something’s under My Bed

By Joan Horton Joan Horton
I hear it at night
when I turn out the light.
It’s that creature who’s under my bed.
He won’t go away.
He’s determined to stay.
But I wish he would beat it, instead.

I told him to go,
but he shook his head no.
He was worse than an unwelcome guest.
I gave him a nudge,
but he still wouldn’t budge.
It was hard to get rid of the pest.

So I fired one hundred
round cannon balls plundered
from pirate ships sailing the seas.
But he caught them barehanded
and quickly grandstanded
by juggling them nice as you please.

The creature was slick.
He was clever and quick.
This called for a drastic maneuver.
So I lifted my spread
and charged under the bed
with the roar of my mother’s new Hoover.

But he snorted his nose
and sucked in the long hose,
the canister, cord, and the plug,
and vacuumed in dust   
till I thought he would bust
then he blew it all over the rug.

Now this made me sore,
so I cried, “This is war!”
and sent in a contingent of fleas,
an army of ants
dressed in camouflage pants
followed closely by big killer bees.
But he welcomed them in
With a sly, crafty grin,
And he ate them with crackers and cheese.

I screamed, “That’s enough!”
It was time to get tough.
“You asked for it, Creature,” I said,
as I picked up and threw,
with an aim sure and true,
my gym sneaker under the bed.

With each whiff of the sneaker
the creature grew weaker.
He staggered out gasping for air.
He coughed and he sneezed
and collapsed with a wheeze
and accused me of not playing fair.

Then holding his nose
with his twelve hairy toes,
the creature curled into a ball,
and rolled ’cross the floor
smashing right through the door.
I was rid of him once and for all.

The very next night
when I turned out the light
and was ready to lay down my head,
I heard my kid brother
cry out to my mother,
“Hey, Ma, something’s under my bed.”

“Hey, Ma, Something’s under My Bed.” © 1998 by Joan Horton. Reprinted from Miles of Smiles (© 1998, 2004 by Meadowbrook Creations) with permission from Meadowbrook Press.

Source: Miles of Smiles (Meadowbrook Press, 1988)

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Poet Joan Horton

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, Youth, Relationships, Home Life

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza


Children’s poet Joan Horton was raised in Glastonbury, Connecticut, and educated at the University of Hartford and the University of Connecticut, where she earned a BA and an MSW. Her humorous, narrative children’s poems often incorporate elements of surprise and fantasy. She is the author of several books of poetry for children, including Working Mummies (2012, illustrated by Drazen Kozjan), Math Attack! (2009, illustrated by . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Youth, Relationships, Home Life

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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