Outside my bedroom window, beneath the sound
of wind and dry leaves, a shadow called
my name–Willie, Willie. No relation to any tree
or shrub in the yard, he was a wanderer, friend
of the moon. He entered my room and said my name
once more, slow and on one note so it sounded
like foghorns of ships that pass in the river,
familiar. “How do you do?” I asked and asked
once more when he didn’t respond.
He moved about like a nosy guest, pausing
at my dresser, peering inside my armoire, lingering
by the window. “Sometimes you look like a man
carrying a satchel and then like a snake slithering
up my wall.” And the moon lights you up like a ghost.
I can nearly see right through you, he said
I looked down at my nightgown, my bare arms. I was
glowing like a corpse candle, translucent-blue.
“I’m luminous,” I said and knew it. His shadow covered
me like a blanket as if to put me out. Just like the moon,
Willie, you have a dark side too and he stayed there
above me, shifting from man to snake and back again
before disappearing on a cloud.
But I knew he would return. Sure as shine.
TERI YOUMANS GRIMM is the author of Dirt Eaters, published by the University Press of Florida. Her writing has also appeared in Prairie Schooner, Indiana Review, Connecticut Review, South Dakota Review, Sugar House Review and Homegrown in Florida: An Anthology of Florida Childhoods, among other publications. She currently teaches in the low-res MFA program at the University of Nebraska.