Gray Wolf

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.

 

gray wolf

 

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.

 

We scatter

into the wild to find a wolf

before he finds us.

 

Silent minutes pass

as the the sky darkens.

No wolf.

 

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

 

and breathing?

The wind? Or something

much worse.

 

I inch into the unknown,

fork extended to fend off

friend, foe,

 

whatever evil

might come at me

from the dark.

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