Night-Piece

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what’s that
i’m awake
a bang like a door or a foot
knocking a chair
who’s there

tense i lie in my bed my face
stretching out on the black air
my ears strain……a creak this time
like a cat on the stair – but we have no cat
if the door-handle turned and a….
shape came in…..darkness
clutches at my startled hair
spiders walk my skin
would i dare
to go for it with my fists – my fists
clench doped with sweat
would i scream
faint or lie there staring
my eyes pushing out in jets of fear
waiting for what – what would it do

a short nipped sound from the earwig night
drops in my ear
i sit up
pinching my breath – was it by the door
or the window – i can’t be sure
i wait for the next sound for the
blade of the knife
i become aware
of the ticking clock…and my father’s
heavy breathing in the next room
the curtain moves and a faint light
like a living thing creeps on the bed
something – a twig – scratches on the pane
a car changes gear on a nearby hill
there is a creak in the house again
a door rattles in a hidden wind – an owl’s cry
dogs barking – even a distant train – all
friendly and easy to explain
i relax
and yawn get out and stand by the window
looking out on the soft outlines of houses
silent lawns making my own peace with night

when i return to bed at last (all
tension gone) birds are standing
on the treetops bringing in the dawn

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