Wait But Do Not Consider

By | 1 May 2019

When she was eighty, we learned,
our Gran confronted a man
at her window at night.

He was from round the bend.

His house was down by the Banoon train,
the trellis out front displaying unnatural
ornaments: two mismatched picture shapes,

one, a hunter with a rifle, black
with white outlines in the style
of a practice target in profile.

The other was a huge, gaudy butterfly placed
as if the hunter were about to shoot it.

But about this night of confrontation—
years after, Gran confided to one of us, off-hand,

how she’d lain in her bed, and then
a shadow head had appeared
at the window
and she had spoken to the head in the darkness:

I know you’re there and I know who you are.

At this, the shadow head departed.

The man went on to kill
a man and
a woman
and bury their bodies on Mount Glorious.

With my head up this close to the mirror I think, God,
my nose is just like my grandmother’s, and I remember
a time I studied her—one morning in her hallway, in the light
from the guest room’s door—I looked at her head
and thought on, extrapolated from, the looks
of those from the north of England. But really I saw nothing.
I was just piecing, reaching. I was only about twelve.

Next to that flat figure with the gun
that winged thing looked exultant.

I always noticed it on the way
and knew it wasn’t right.
It wasn’t a joke, it was stating
a view of the world this weirdo thought
we’d better heed. That’s how I felt as a kid.

In the years since I learned
of this encounter at the window,
I’ve thought how she never told
this story into our record as I would,
as I do. This happened! Hell’s bells!

She let it out eventually but only that one time
and it was grown so much by then, that secret,
into a troll thing. Magic potato. Humous
jewel. We could use it now, I think she knew,
because its power was strong from her
conserving it so, without tending it.

Often I tell myself when worried,
Wait but do not consider.

This is how a secret grows underground.

In the otherworld, that huge butterfly
casts a shadow above our little craft.
When the thing moves on, so shall we.

The hunter was never aiming at the butterfly;
it had swooped in to shield a soul. The protector
force-fielding, halting time to provide an exit.

In that mirror that makes me into my ancestor, I question
whether I could dismiss the murderer from my window.

In the mirror my ancestor
scrutinizes me using my own eyes.
(Did you know this is why our ancestors
no longer need their own bodies?)

If the murderer comes to me,
I will sleep inside
while she looks out
my windows and replies.

This entry was posted in 91: MONSTER and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Related work:

  • No Related Posts Found

Comments are closed.