Coffeebreak Thrillers   (Back to Poets' Corner)

The visitor

by Joe DiMino, who retains all rights.


Once upon a night so bleak-
Still and frozen lay the creek-
air with threat of death bore-
pushed, swore and swore
pounded the frail, wood door.
Shutters noised-bolting and banging-
metal hinges adding more tumultuous tang
as they, in vile unison, vibrantly rang.
Suddenly, through frosted pane,
I spied, lurking down the lane,
straying off to the blanketed plain,
a spirit like figure.
It crept upon the sod's snowy cover-
amidst rocks and shadows
stopped-darkly hovered-
(Of superstition-I had no fright-
still-an air of death grew bolder
as darkness abscessed the night-)
Again from hiding it sprung-
in sweeping arcs massive arms swung-
for my cabin door, plowing a path
with haste I shuddered, awed by this wraith-
Silence ensued more vociferous than shout-
I sat at my table (candlelight flicker)
thoughts wildly racing-quicker-a manic flicker...
(Of superstition-I had no fright-
still-an air of death grew bolder
as darkness abscessed the night-)
Suddenly there came a knock-
my door hardly sounded-
from my chair I lifted, more bounded.
"Who is it?" I demanded-
leaning heavily into the door;
"Hurry-state your stand-
What monster has this God forsaken night sired?
What slinks across the frozen land?-
keeping common scavengers a-fear in their lairs,
the stench of death recalling despairs--
what dreadful agonies have you come to bare?"-
To which there was no reply-
nor further from I.
(Followed another brief silence-seething with violence)
This silence continued but a fleeting moment more-
ended by fury, the Devil alone could spore-
for on my door it commenced to pound
pounded and pounded, noise, how it sounded
and bounded, from wall to wall
from all to all-
"Let me in!" it shouted-with fury-with rage
I would not be here
if not for your page-
Let me in!" fiercely it urged-
Door shackles weakening with each new surge.
Finally-there came a mighty thrust-
Bolt lock springing and flinging as it bust-
Left in the doorway, amidst whirling dust
stood a figure
clad in black shroud-
puffing-snorting-brutishly bowed.
Of no man had I this depth of fear nor sense of jeer;
still, as I knew my own name, the ferocity of men
compared to this seemed tame-
knowing well
this to be not man but ghoul,
restricted naught, by any flesh-rule.
It followed my every move--
as a predator would stalk or taunt its prey
nowhere to flee, no safely away-
thus, sensed I my life to be at bay....
But before I could stir
slur my disdain
this grotesque courier of bane
had lifted its shroud
then mockingly bowed-
To my surprise-
though bereft of human form;
conceived in some ghastly norm,
its face-absent of all but the slightest human trace-
yet that face!-that face!-clearly shown-
resembled my own.