By Elizabeth O’Connell-Thompson
When they come knocking,
I take them by the hand that had been a fist moments before
and show them something beautiful—
a black creek in the woods,
a doe’s skull in the field.
I lead them just far enough away that they can still see the house,
but not say if it is made of straw or stone.
While they are dipping their feet in the water
or watching how the sun sets on bone, I walk back
to bolt the door and light a fire,
holding myself as they had offered to do.
Elizabeth O’Connell-Thompson is a Chicago-based poet. She is the Literary Coordinator for the CHIPRC, where she leads the Wasted Pages Writers’ Workshop Series. Her work has been featured in RHINO, Banshee, and The Wax Paper, among others. Please send your truest thoughts and spookiest chainmail to EOTwrites.com.
Editor’s Note: Today’s poem is the perfect blend of beauty and mystery. Taking us by the hand, the poem leads us through its vivid imagery, while leaving us to imagine who–or what–is the poem’s subject. The sense of the unknown becomes a character in the poem, leaving the reader with the same chill the causes the narrator to “bolt the door and light a fire, / holding myself as they had offered to do.”