J's Front Porch
3 February 2004
The dim-lit film noir I walked through,
of shadows and broken streetlamps,
the sound of footsteps coming from behind.
J's front porch was a refuge, Friday nights.
Whispering voices huddled in shadows
not quite on the top stairs,
old enough to be out
young enough to be scared
and let it show.
We watched the night unfold before our eyes;
seeing things that children weren't supposed to see
hearing things that children weren't supposed to hear.
But it was safe from this front porch
under the light of a flickering bulb
--- Hey, you children need to get home!
And we would scramble at the sound
of J's mother's cigarette darkened voice.
And, man, that trip home was frightening slow
despite running all the way.
Thought I was in Night of the Living Dead
and could hear the breathing down my neck.
J's front porch is only memory now.
My hair is turning gray.
After a long illness J passed away
and it's been a long time
since there was any refuge from the night.
© 2004, Satya J. Gabriel