There is a man on the street

coming toward you. He walks the way

you imagine a fly might walk if it stood upright.

Like his body is lighter than he expects

it to be. Like part of him is missing.

He howls something strange

and unintelligible. Maybe he’s calling

for you. Maybe he wants to touch you.

To hurt you. Maybe he’s just keening

like an old cat. You wonder

if you should run. If you should

take refuge in the little convenience store

on the corner. The one with chocolates

wrapped in gold paper. With the cashier

who smiles at you and says hello,

sweetie in a voice so heavy

you can barely understand it

when you are tired. You wonder

if you should yell for help. If you

should hide. But you stand there

and watch him draw nearer,

snow arranging itself in soft walls

on the sidewalk. A better woman

would walk away. A better woman

would know what to do

when a man is coming for her

in the dark.

Photo by Kai C. Schwarzer