When we were younger
and the twilights lasted longer
and the shadows of the trees
became beasts and spirits,
a farm house was our kingdom:
our ward against the demons,
stretching across rolling fields
lined by pines, dark warriors.
Some nights smelled of fires.
We gazed upon the embers;
the shadows retreated to the forest
and stared eyeless, envious.
Others smelled like carnage,
like the night you came of age.
You brought in your first kill,
your face stained red, innocent.
Blood washed away in the river
on summer days hot as a fever.
Cleanse the blood from your face.
I’ll cleanse the mud from mine.
Those nights were enchanting
as we charged the darkness, sprinting
to the safety of the fire
at the bottom of the hill.
But those nights were haunted.
In the darkness we were hunted
by something ancient stretching
across the darkened field.
Wait and watch a doe,
the night waits and watches you.
Hold your trigger before the sun
goes down, while all is quiet.
The doe can hear you moving
but the night is coming, sweeping:
a scythe across grain from
a field forsaken by daylight.
Fire, light the fire, escape the—
—darkness is an ancient spirit
warded off by fire—
Don’t breathe or the doe will hear you.
Don’t run or the unknown will find you.
Don’t keep me waiting.
Fall, 2018 Issue