Out Again at Night

From the collection published in 2021, And Don’t Come Back.

Out Again at Night

Ten minutes after midnight
I approach the tumbledown house
in the humid darkness. The razor-sharp echo
of a barking dog magnified by distance
he hears me but he is too far away to hear me
terrifies and reassures. A candle flickers
and flares in an upstairs window
The curtain is alight now. Distressing but
Not my problem. Creeping across the grass
I flinch at another crash of thunder
take a tighter hold on my purse. Now the terrace railing.
I climb and drop. I dislike the feel of the lichened concrete
on my hands. No time to search for a tissue
to wipe them clean. A scent of moldering roses –
a whole florist shop-full of rotten sweet petals perishing –
follows me from the ruined garden. I wish I could hold my nose.
A white moth flutters around my head. Annoyed
I brush it away and drop my purse. The window above me
shatters from the heat of the flames. Glass rains down.
I finger-comb it in sparkles from my hair. Where is my purse?
I curse, not for the first time tonight, and –

Settling into the pillows
I lick my finger and turn the page.
The bedside lamp will be on
for some hours yet.


10 thoughts on “Out Again at Night

  1. You capture that sense of being transported into an imaginary world and situation perfectly. You also convey that sense of being trapped inside a real page-turner of a book and feeling compelled to keep going. I fall asleep while reading all the time precisely for that reason. As for the passage being read, I really enjoyed how evocative it was and the sense of foreboding you created.

    • Thank you. I enjoyed writing this poem. I am not good with plot, but maybe I should just start writing and see where it goes, this poem reminds me that is the way I seem to want to work, and why not just go until I run out of gas? I have not tried this, maybe I need to…

      • Why not? Even if you find you don’t enjoy writing at length, that’s still a valuable lesson and you might develop some ideas that you use elsewhere.

        • Yes, I have tried it a few times in the past and then repurposed the results in poems, mostly. But longer story type things like this. I am kind of feeling what I like is short and more “poetic” story writing like this than ever trying even a short story or a novel. Because I get so impatient with all the details.

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