This poem was first published on the Whidbey Writers Workshop web site. It won the Student Choice Award in June 2010.
from somewhere in the night,
stare at her past the bedroom window,
Her heart swells and smothers her lungs
but that’s okay because she can’t remember how to breathe.
What should she do?
grab the phone on the night stand
and punch 9-1-1?
That won’t work,
She’s sure the telephone lines have been cut.
She could make a flying leap to her purse hanging in the kitchen
minding its business,
slung on the back of the chair,
that wouldn’t work, either,
She’d never get there in time.
Instead, she decides to act all nonchalant,
to pretend she doesn’t see him and make believe
a glass of water
or maybe iced tea, or even a Coke
would taste mighty fine now.
She plans to sort of wander down the hall
and snatch her cell phone from her bag,
and slip it in her pocket,
feeling for the right numbers,
“There’s someone watching me at my house,
Do you have my address?”
While she waits for the police, she could run to the basement,
lock herself in the sewing room,
and prepare to stab the bad guy with needles and pins
or even her chrome sewing shears that she never uses to cut paper
But she’s sitting on the bed,
legs dangling from the extra thick mattress,
knees feeling all prickly,
mouth part-ways open,
He’s still staring at her
in that frozen way, one eye bright as a cat’s,
the other eye fading and rippling in the mist,
trying to psych her out and
torture her in her head before he breaks in:
Is the front door locked?
She coughs and licks her lips,
so he’ll think she’s got a big thirst
then she slides off the bed;
The eyes follow her while she shuffles to the door,
A thought drops into her head
like she’s tuned to some sort of radio station
SOS on the AM dial:
He can’t see her if the room is dark,
As she rushes to the wall,
my heart shrinks like a deflated punching bag
Don’t do it! I silently scream,
Her finger hesitates on the switch,
as if she’s heard me,
then she snaps off the light
only blackness, like the end of a hollow log,
No burning eyes stare back,
But she’s doomed herself
Light was the only thing saving her—
I point the remote at the TV
and turn it off,
I already know the ending
Why did I watch this movie
when it was on so late?
Where is he?
He said he’d be home by eleven.
I draw myself into a cocoon under the blanket,
and leave the lights on.