Quick Fiction: The Shadows Can Devour Me

I love the play of light and dark in this McComb poem.

Sunlight tastes stale, its bleached scenery
Night has the advantage of strangeness;
It will do with you what it will.

I love this section of EVENING CLENCHES because McComb suggests that there is a sense of boundless possibility in night. Night is mysterious and strange, where light, daytime, is stale, boring and familiar. Most people, I dare suggest, wouldn’t agree. Night and dark may lend themselves to mystery, but also to being threatening and scary as hell.

This poem, which I have loved for years, started me thinking about light and dark.

The idea that light is safe and shadows are to be feared has fascinated me for years. Is it sensible to think that a situation is less scary or to be feared less, simply because we light illuminates it. I’ve been known to not go into my backyard at night simply because it’s dark and I can’t see ‘what might be out there’. My quick fiction poem attempts to upturn the commonly accepted notion of light and dark. I hope this comes across.

Eyes blackened,
blind with deep night.
A wind skitters,
a branch scratches.
Only the rhythm of my own breath,
keeps my heart beating loud and even.

A dark inner fog consumes all sensibilities,
diffuses and steals me.
I am convinced of stalking shadows,
of silhouettes and strangers.

A chair crouches and shakes like a drunk.
A vase rises to strike,
doubling its height.
A man sneaks on his toes,
a torch beam in his hand.

It blazes only metres off and then rushes close.
It threatens the shadows,
it consumes and strangles and hides nothing.

If his lit face,
and the taste of his nicotine breath,
are my fear,
the shadows can devour me.

Humbly written by X


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