Lantern Men


My grandmothers warned me

never to leave my window open at night.


Now my room is shape-shifted by creatures,

the half-light filled with their secrets.


Their words become drunk incantations

to bulrushes and reed beds.


Come morning, they vanish so fast,

they leave toothed shadows on the wall.


I should learn the art of stilt-walking

to step over the menace lurking in their fog.


But I am snug, wintered down like an eel

in the moment before it tries to flee the fyke.


I close the shutters to prevent their whispers

unfurling over the sleeping village


like a fen on a November night.