Tuesday, June 2, 2015



I ventured out at twilight and I saw, beside the lake,
Where the woods were dark, and the water light,
What seemed to be, perhaps—
A man…

I’d seen a figure small—no more, in height, than just a child,
Walking, in the shadows of the woods
And out, where I could see—
And back.

And as I watched, across the lake, I saw it turn and look.
I froze—and when it saw me, so did it.
And time—and everything—
Stood still.

And then, it turned and went into the woods!  I stood and stared.
I felt a shiver, running down my back.
And so I turned—and ran—
And ran!

I only stopped when I was out of breath and far away
From where I’d seen what seemed to be a man.
But really, what was it?
A ghost?

I panted, bent and held my knees. I tried to catch my breath.
But then, before I could, I ran again—
Away, away, not looking

And I was lost by then, upon a field—and it was dark.
But when at last I stopped, I felt again
That tingle on my skin—
And turned.

It wasn’t there—it wasn’t there!  I felt a great relief.
I took a breath of air.  I almost laughed,
But couldn’t, lacking breath.
I sat.

The moon was out—a crescent, hanging low—and stars.
And as I watched, the sky was filled with them.
They twinkled, and it seemed
They laughed.

I rose up then and slowly sought to find my way towards home.
But still I knew I should avoid that place
Where I had seen it stare
At me.

On getting home, I quickly shuttered doors and windows tight.
I lit the lamp and saw, through window glass,
Its twin.  I could not see

And when I crept in bed, beneath the quilt, I shivered still.
I hardly slept, and woke in sudden fear,
For every sound, it seemed,
Was it.

And so, I told myself, “You cannot sleep, except in bits.
You toss and turn. You wake and start at sounds.
You’re anxious, full of fear—
Of what?”

But as I said that “what”, I felt, again, that shock. I saw
Those eyes that locked with mine, across the lake—
Those eyes, that seemed to be—
Of what?

“Oh nonsense!  What a stupid fool you are!  A coward too!
It was a man you saw—a little man,
Who also turned and fled—
From fear.”

And so I tried to scold myself.  I felt some comfort spread
From zones of reason to the rest.
I breathed a sigh and sought—
Some rest.

And when I woke again, the dawn was there.  And with that light
I felt that fear of darkness disappear.
It seemed, it was a dream
I’d had.

So I dismissed it then, and rose and went about my day.
But when the sunset neared, I felt unease.
I could not go towards
That lake.

So every night, I close my doors and windows tight.  And then
I eat my dinner and I try to sleep,
But often wake again
In fright.

I wonder, “What was it I saw, at dusk, across the lake,
That walked out from the woods?  It looked at me
And I at it and then—
I ran.”

I wonder, “Does it also fear, like me? And does it fear
The one it saw, across the lake, at dusk—
That great big one?
Does it?”

I sense an ebb of tension then.  I even laugh.  I feel
A passing pity for that little thing
That seemed to be a man—
Or what?

This doesn’t last. I say, “Tomorrow, I will go again
To stand, at dusk, beside that lake and gaze
across.”  But then, I know
I can’t.

2015 May 2nd, Tue.
Brooklyn, New York

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