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came to her, an intruder in the night.  The storyline,
latent for so long until the memory jumped to life
in her dream. It played out frame by frame,
like an old movie.

The scene, a quietly sculpted
Midwest subdivision, architecturally pleasant
with a mix of bungalows, Revivals and American
Foursquares, no-nonsense structures for
serious-minded people, and very little bric-a-brac.
He showed up suddenly, a grey meld of a boy
she once knew. Now thin, wiry, and on the hunt,
his clothing was soiled, and it lay flaccid on bony
shoulders. In the neighborhood, but no longer of it,
he roamed the side streets at dusk. 
He was a caricature of his younger self,
now dressed in army boots and jacket
with a ball cap pulled low over steely eyes.
He spotted her on Elmore,
a full block away. In one leap it seemed,
he was upon her on the grass, his hand prowling
inside her shirt and down her jeans. He had no weapon,
but rage. An amateur, his unpracticed hands shaky and cold.

All at once, porch lights canvassed the yard.
A deep voice called out, “Who’s there? Do you need help”?  
The boy flattened himself under a cascade of andromeda, then slid away.                                                                                                                                    

Jean Cassidy   June, 2021

The andromeda is a common plant associated with danger and beauty, because it’s toxic and if consumed, can make animals or a person appear intoxicated. It is a double-edged symbol of both beauty and danger. 

asheville writers, poetry, wnc poetry, wnc writer, writing


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