SPEND THE NIGHT
by John Grey
SPEND THE NIGHT
Nothing like the creaky doors,
worm-riddled stairs, cobwebbed windows,
of an old deserted mansion.
Especially at night,
in the midst of a thunderstorm,
with lightning flashes
the only visibility,
thunder thumping clouds together,
and rain trampling the rooftops.
With a creepy basement of course.
And mysterious sounds from the attic.
Not forgetting a piano that plays by itself,
a painting of a cavalier
whose eyes move from side to side.
A man ought to venture into the unknown
from time to time,
tremble his way through the unexpected,
feel fingers of an unseen hand on his throat,
be privy to unexplained temperature swings,
and too terrified to move
as a shadowy figure
flits across the room before him.
No point living your whole life
in boring suburbs,
doing the same things every day,
being so average
you could be a poster boy for boredom.
The house is in the woods,
Folks are afraid to venture near.
Its history begins with brutal death
and rots and garrotes its way
more evil from there.
But ignore the warnings.
Spend the night in that place.
So what if you don’t survive until the morning.
The house will still be there.
And it wouldn’t be what it is
if I weren’t for people like you.
The figure has entered my room
and I so want to call you
to let you know
the feelings it engenders
the horror of its presence,
the trembling that consumes
my body from head to toe.
But I know you live alone
and I don’t want
the thought of this monster
to have you sleeping
with the light on
or, worse than that,
not sleeping at all.
Wort of all,
the creature could
enter your room.
In which case,
don’t call me.
Night never met a room yet
that it didn’t yearn to fill.
It’s hours since the sun’s last rites.
Now I attend the funeral of the candle flame.
Floor creaks. Ceiling sags.
Walls keep in as much as they keep out.
There’s a moon out there somewhere.
Its light is borrowed, must be returned.
There is no protection here.
Critters scratch at the attic floor.
Or dart along the beams.
Or scurry down corridors
within the house’s frame.
And yes, that’s a tapping at the window.
It’s coming from the inside.
The curtain shakes without benefit of wind.
Beneath the bed, a door squeaks open.
Footsteps follow, one nerve end at a time.
Okay, so I get it. I’m not alone.
But listen well my denizens of the dark –
you’re not alone either.
About the Author:
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in That, Dunes Review, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, Thin Air, Dalhousie Review and failbetter.