It is not what lies within shadows
to fear most, but the lighted spill
from a lurker’s heart,
his hellfire coals and smoky
cloud of umbral indecent breath,
for these will taint the path
of a wayfaring soul
intent on reaching a destination.
I encounter many innocent lambs
with necks bent, afraid to
peer into the darkness for dangers;
thoughts clean as the sigh of a baby,
hoping to meet a kindred spirit.
Wondering upon a dismal eve
if such exists . . .
On my own path, striding alone
I saw the lamplight
of an inn, a lofty haven from the night,
waver faintly ahead like a ship
floating in the distance
of a restless midnight sea.
Parch-lipped I staggered to this
welcome glow —
thirst a compass needle aiming
straight and true; the Moon
a beady yellow orb that watched with
cold interest, sallow disdain.
I was bloodless and chilled from
a lengthy upward trek,
legs heavy as wet logs, boots
anchored as if the ground
were pulling, sucking at them
with rooted limbs that snaked out of
graves. Yet the earth, my dirt trail
hard as cobblestone. Pure conjuration,
a tired mind in need of drink.
Entering I faltered,
iron gazes leveled like the muzzles
of guns. Visages scarred and surly as
a wolf pack hungrily regarded
my appearance, the length and cut
of coat, the style of brim.
“Not from these parts, I reckon?”
“No sir,” I answered the Barkeep
in a somber tone, deeper than deep.
“I am a visitor to your land.”
An accent bespoke the rest —
my distance traveled, my journey
to this humble tavern on a hill:
The Eyrie, which signified a nest,
perched high up. I liked the sound
more than its meaning. Appropriate
for the mood. The atmosphere.
It felt quite “eerie” that den.
I carried an ambiance with me,
across the ocean, a mysterious figure
stalking a ship that arrived with
a crew of ghosts. Prowling the train
I leapt from as it hurtled on,
Passenger Cars silent but for the
clatter of rails. An echo of hooves,
of horses that tugged a coach
rumbling town to town, then carved
a new route — sensing peril ere
my unsated form sprang out!
A man or a monster?
Eyes bulged. The room went still.
I strutted closer, bloodstains apparent.
The gazes grew in size and alarm,
reflecting a horror, a presence
that grinned and complacently
swilled, too quick for any to
fight or flee. The more I gulped
the more I craved, until their corpses
lay emptied, the spoils of
an endless unquenchable thirst.
I like The Eyrie and have chosen
to remain, resting in the lair
among specters, listless apparitions.
Until a village beyond the steep
then my wanderlust resume.
Lori R. Lopez
Creative Spirit (Author, Artist, Poet, Songwriter & More)