I could feel you, your sniffing along corners, behind chairs, coming alone this time. I lay flat in a closet, dark-hidden, waiting, ears wide and mouth shut. Just rafters and floorboards between us- the simple structure of a stick-frame house. I held, biting my fingers.
Then came your stairway ascent, the smell of Marlboro and Channel, the sound of your pause. Just a moment, your stalking, followed by your exit - an exit announced in your ripped-throat exhale, the percussive thud of your each step landing, stopping, resuming, diminishing. I opened my door to yellow dimness- the press of silence poured in.
What had you touched? What had you taken? Would you be back? Were you close by now? The house shook in its emptiness, chilled in its quietness. I calculated. Reckoning with your nighttime returns, my remnants shrank to half. Withstood your taking of whatever you wanted as I had since first you started your night hunts. This night confirmed my smallness. I knew I was not ready to face your gray skin and sour breath- or the orange glow of your half-burned cigarette.
May 13, 2010