You should not have come here alone
at this time of night, just dusk
with the rustles of things unknown going
skittering through your thoughts.
Your own footsteps in the rotting leaves and needles
multiply, taunt you to glance back
with held breath.
Alone, alone in the western woods
the wild trees in a riot of anger
lash at the sky with gnarled evergreen claws,
the wind infuriated.
You’ll never fall asleep.
And if you try,
the long scream of a distant
will cut through your dreams
like sharpened steel.
Alone with malicious shadows
that hover just above your waking
the wind will mark you
lean down and stroke your cheek
with withered hands.
Erin Poettcker spends most of her creative energy as principal of a little private school on the UBC campus. Whatever’s leftover comes out in periodic binge writing, usually poetry, but sometimes bad short stories to entertain her students.