There is a knock on the door and a ring on the bell.
It is too late for visitors. A book left open on page 67.
The dark is too dark and the cold is too cold
and the moon is too high to be outside
out of bed in your white nightdress,
Too late for the clock strikes 11.

You open the door but the doorstep of house number 11
is empty. In the garden there is nothing but wind
and you stand there alone looking out
into the too dark, too cold. Shrug.
Close the door. Go back to bed.
Tiptoe across the landing.

Back to page 67 there are footsteps on the landing.
Listen. Tiptoes on the landing. The crack of
Floorboards. Nothing. Close the book.
Nothing. Turn off the light
turned on again.
You can’t sleep.

Go downstairs, check the locks. You wish you were asleep.
Nothing. Wait. The door is not locked and the door
is not closed. Your heart forgets to beat and
your breath forgets to breathe. Look down
at footprints that tiptoe up the stairs,
Across the landing. Run.

Grab the phone, the keys and run outside to the car
in the too dark, too cold in your white nightdress,
Barefoot on tiptoes and the car opens but
the engine won’t start. Lock the doors.
Dial: ‘999, what’s your emergency?’
‘INTRUDER’ you scream. Nothing.

The phone line goes dead and you hear nothing,
You see nothing in the too dark too cold
you watch the figure in your window
raise a beckoning hand and
moving in shadows you are,
Moving in shadows.

Run backwards, inside the house of number 11 in the too dark,
too cold. Tiptoe across the landing in shadows.
The clock strikes 12. Nothing. Sleep.



By Merlynn Spencer from her Debut Collection


Featured image by Matthew Feeney via Unsplash

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