Excerpt #48, Rocking-Chair Moon

Remnants
—Ben

Carly won’t tell her scary-douchebag story
to Mom or Dad—they’ve already got too much
on their minds, she says—
and she’s sworn me and
our buddy-for-life Mr. Felder
to secrecy,
so It’s just the three of us in this leaky boat,

and every Wednesday now
a dude with the goofy name of Buzz
drives her home from youth group
(to save me the trip, she claims),
and on other days I make sure I’m around
to give her a ride if she’s out after dark
even though she tells me it’s not necessary

because she’s old enough
to take care of herself,
but I’ve noticed how she eyes our street,
up and down,
before she leaves the house now,
I’ve seen her shoulders hunch
at the sound of an oncoming car,
I can tell she’s lost confidence—
and interest—in doing stuff

as simple as taking her driver’s test,
she’s lost sleep and weight
and the ability to sit in the house
behind an unlocked door and go to bed
with her bedroom light off
and her window open
and not jump through the ceiling
when I walk into a room
unthinking and unannounced,

so constantly, haunted by the idea
that a flesh-and-blood bogeyman has stolen
a priceless share of Carly’s peace of mind,
I watch and listen and sniff the air
like Nomo in his prime
for the reappearance of a delivery van,
old and beat-up and loud, complete with
a mouth-breathing thief behind the wheel.

Mr. Felder has a way about him, though,
he’s got a presence,
and I have a feeling the pervert
won’t be back,
I have a feeling he’s got a bully’s spine,
twisted and soft.
But who’s he out stalking now?

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