Monster; An Old Story


Night-born, malformed, maleficent,
pale as a pulled root,
a monster prowls the woods.

What other explanation is there
for the gutted deer, the naked
footprint by the bedroom window?

Now the neighbor’s dog
has disappeared. The back gate’s broken.
I keep the shotgun loaded.

How often now the birds
suddenly go silent in the trees.
What do they hear?

This thing of darkness I
acknowledge mine.
I made it.
I let it escape. Now it returns.

Go on, you ragged underling.
Stalk me with your pitiful strategies.
Starve and shiver in the darkness.

Cry to me from the thorny ravine.
I’m safe behind locked doors.
I will not answer or embrace

the thing I have created.
An Old Story

Our story is an old story, the tale of two,
Who met in our feverish, infallible youth
And woke transfigured in a world made new.

We walked through gardens of such stark perfume
That merely breathing left us drunk for days.
We rolled in brambles with our skin unbruised.

We shined in sunlight and in moonlight glowed,
As radiant as angels drawn by Blake.
How could such fiery brightness not explode?

The aspens shimmered, and each blade-like leaf
Slashed at the slopes until the freshets bled.
The mountains were not larger than our grief.

I don’t know why I tell myself this story,
Except that it is spring again outside
When bent oaks briefly blossom into glory.

Oh, yes, it was a story beyond telling,
And so it had to end, as legend required
In blood and tears and fire, the grim fates smiling.

We had our years of ecstasy and rage,
And then moved back to other tamer tales.
But my hand still burns touching this page.