Some of these old poems that I had forgotten writing, I’m not crazy about. This one I like quite a bit. Partly I like it because of the memories it evokes of these evening games long past, and also the hinted at idea of the blurred line between fun and fear.
The sun goes down early in the fall,
burning leaves and cool
Autumn bite in the air.
We sit on the front porch
and one, two, three, not it!
our voices echo down the dark street.
The loser, now a gray wolf
lopes into the wild
behind the house, away from the streetlights.
Hidden, he howls.
His shriek carries through the neighborhood
to the rest of us, three or four kids, hunters.
into the wild to find a wolf
before he finds us.
Silent minutes pass
as the the sky darkens.
Finally I approach the old garage,
crouched behind the house,
its gaping mouth open, forbidding,
darkness. I smell the burning leaves
again and reach for a dirty pitchfork
that leans against the wall.
I grip the rough wooden handle,
and peer into the gloom.
Silence. Then creaks
The wind? Or something
I inch into the unknown,
fork extended to fend off
might come at me
from the dark.