by Diane Webster


My hearing intensifies
when I lay me down to sleep
like feral cat dozing
on top of abandoned shelf
with sounds tickling
delicate ear hairs

like train whistle miles away
with wind I am in my bedroom
at my parent’s house, summer night
I left both windows open
to catch cross-breeze
if one happened by

after I read chapters of In Cold Blood,
I slept, awoke to something
sneaking closer
until I focused on curtain
billowing air into room

I gasped airless
at each settling, cooling creak of house
as it steps closer, closer.

I want to scream!
Green numbers
on my digital clock
reconfigure from 8 to 9 to 4 a.m.

when man delivering newspapers
roars through gravel outside
and bangs paper home;
I hear front-page photo
grunt house after house.


I brace myself in the hallway;
sitting with back against one wall
feet pressed against opposite baseboards
a parallel line to stare at, focus
breathe in, breathe out, watch line
move closer, closer
and I, victim, caught between walls
crushing closer as my knees bend,
thighs quiver as I attempt to slow
flattening process
like rose petal thumped between
encyclopedia pages beginning with hernia
or hibernation all dark,
dry, smell of pseudo-death
dreamed of, unaware of if real
forgotten if not.

Let tornado turmoil twist outside
as sunshine seeps
under curtains, doorways, eyelids
and my toes can’t touch
baseboard anymore.


As soon as seed strikes earth,
it grows, sprouts, knows its future
lies up the trellis old lady
bought special for it.

It latches on, hoists itself
along each square, each parallel lath
horizontal, diagonal, vertical at last
as it crisscrosses itself with leaves,
blossoms, muscled tendrils.
It breeches eave and searches
handholds under asphalt shingles
rolling over, onto roof
glorious in touching morning sun first
but feeling evening’s frost drip beneath
and sparkle across ground,
around its outer garments
all while reaching Braille-like
toward peak searching sun.

That basking warmth absorbed
like water to sagebrush rabbit
hidden from coyote sniffing
in wrong direction
when time runs out in frost’s descending
hour-glass sand. Seeds hibernate
breathing between grains
sniffing for first scent of lilacs.


He glides through halls in stealth mode
uncloaking behind, beside
with man eyes, man smile
any woman would cross the street
to insulate distance between them.

Want to sew cat bells
on cuffs of his jeans,
but afraid he’s too adept
to wobble metal inside.
Suspecting what a robin must feel
in claws and teeth
of neighborhood cat —
escape, escape, escape again
only at cat’s pleasure and whim.


How long will it take
before I stop watching the mail
for Grandma’s Christmas card
with the $2 bill inside?

How long will it take
before I stop wanting to write
letters to Tonya to cheer her day
and let her know someone cares?

How long will it take
before I stop hearing the cat
meow at the back door?

How long will it take
before I stop looking for Grandpa
every time I smell pipe smoke?

How long will it take
before I am a memory?

About the Author:

Diane Webster enjoys the challenge of picturing images into words to fit her poems.  If she can envision her poem, she can write what she sees and her readers can visualize her ideas.  That’s the excitement of writing.  Her work has appeared in “Better Than Starbucks,” “The Evansville Review,” “Vita Brevis,” and other literary magazines.