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Leaving Night

By Ed Higgins



in the middle of the night

awake under a panoply

as mordant as Doré

illustrating Dante


spelunking to the dark center

of your best suppressed terror


              will I ever get out of here



If so, only temporarily of course.

Fear, tap, taps again and again

an old séance table leg,

moonlite over a wrong shoulder,

strangers waiting in shadows 

all appearing magically

out of so many black hats

 fear everywhere

              with the fecundity of rabbits,

              rats around a grain bin,

under your bed when you were a child.


Now, the chill of winter bedsheets

or dinner’s spiced rellenos

may be causing these thoughts--

but you can’t really know.

Illusions exhaust finally even


              a life-time of spectacular escapes

              and Harry Houdini couldn’t get back.

The darkness digested him.


Then, just as the whole of universal darkness

spasms like a sphincter,

              or a predator’s jaws closing

              on a small antelope’s spine


thank God,

                        the radio-alarm goes off.


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