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