Vast and Inescapable

The prompt is to write a poem based on “It was a dark and stormy night,” but to substitute my own adjectives.  I’m not entirely sure what this is about, but I’m still working out the dream.  Where does a pacifist find such visceral scenes of violence?

It Was a Vast and Inescapable Night

It was a vast and inescapable night.
The ghost in the attic had called his benediction
down the stairs–“Get out of here!” he’d said
as cheerily as usual, which is to say, not a whit.

The Night Mare whinnied in my ear,
“I have a nice little gallop planned for you tonight.”
She promised me she’d take it slow to start,
and show me deeper pools than usual.
I’d learn new meanings of my name.

The man was weeping when I shot him in the head
although he knew, like me, what was required.
It was myself I shot, of course, so loss and fear
and grief compounded with the guilt I felt,
the trembling gun still steaming in my hand,
and a body waiting for discreet disposal.

“I have done this work before,” I told my shadow steed,
“The murder.  Culpability.  The hiding of the body.
But in past dreams I was the victim, not the agent.”
Last time, my life was vastly changed.

I wish I could say that the sun sprang forth
into morning with a hearty shout,
that I leaped out of my bed,
my new name burning in the air above me.

But days have passed and the curmudgeonly ghost
still treats me more rudely than I deserve.
My Shadow Mare has left me to wander
the dream meadows darkly and in silence.

I wear my new name around my neck
in a small leather pouch.
I have yet to check it, to see it,
to listen for its colors in the bright day.


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