Sepia

this was a dream
twelfth avenue, stop sign
street corner hill
on foot though
stopping to rest
sort through my bag
priceless notebooks
poetic scribblings, loose leaf
shoulder strap must have
dug a track

doubled over in sorting
approached by a stranger
wanted something from me
closer now, yes
it was my shoes
“want those” pointing, he said
without asking
inexpensively decent
green white tennis lace-ups
give them up, sure
“but to walk the hill barefoot?
where do you live?”
to the stranger, asked I
a hand raised dismissal
“don’t answer that”
(he wouldn’t have anyhow)
bending to untie
“Stop!”  he said
then a second stranger
emerged

swiftly with a thieving deftness
slipped off the left shoe
accosted and unbalanced, I
bent to remove the other
“Stop!”
third stranger, a shadow
these three youths meant to
harm me
grabbing up my bag
to hold as ransom
as the first boy
knelt to take my
final scrap of dignity
right shoe

metal glint in his hand
not for my belongings
this brute is armed to cut me
drawing my foot back
as he struck, missed
hand shattered on the sidewalk
as shards of broken glass
looking up at
me triumphant
“why did you do that
…why?”
seizing the opportunity
to lunge upon my attackers
their bodies turned
to cloth and fluff
stuffed animals

with the claws of a predator, I
rent them to ribbons, stuffing
buttons
right there in the open street
no soul heard their cries
as I became a feral cat
great black
viscous alley tom
raven wings sprouted
from my shoulders
carried me up
over houses, over treetops
city blocks
warm afternoon
wind beneath dusky feathers
angelic music on the air
low a murmur rising higher
to a chanting golden millennial
bathed in smile, song
of what I’d done

flew to a house where
people were waiting
in the front door
there they’d gathered
celebrating Christmas dinner
joyous feasting
most were isolate
just happy to have had
a place to rest
staring at my bare feet
now in human form
walking unseen, unheard
to the second floor
each room unique
to whom resided there
up the stairs, further up
another floor
hard-wood turned linoleum
turned to stone
up I climbed
until at last all was shadow
I awaited, I in black

back in time
to the street
stuffing, and ribbons
a mess of gore
woman yells from a window
to the black cat
howling on the street
“Lucifer, shut ‘yer hole!”
up and over the houses
over the trees
as the music played
warm and clear
“That you should treat
your vessel so,
that you
would treat your vessel.”

© Emerys Watchel, 2015 All rights reserved.

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