He’ll come again tonight, I’m sure.
Skulking in the shadows, just out of reach,
Just out of sight.
I say ‘he’; only a male could be so cruel, so random,
So unsympathetic to pleas and bargaining.
The waves crash on the shore,
Drowning the high pitched excitement of the mosquitoes.
Like him they also want their pound of flesh.
I swallow the chilled vodka in one and judder slightly at the taste.
Am I trying to banish him to the shadows?
Or welcome him into the light?
I’m not afraid of him, he can’t touch me
I’ve cheated him.
But still he comes most nights, taunting me,
Until the cheap spirits confuse me,
And I can’t tell him from the shadows of the palms.
The waves roar, seducing me with their siren’s song,
And I realise they’re bringing his whispering words.
The impotent omnipotent is here.
He circles me, whispering half heard words on the light breeze.
Words that rearrange themselves inside my brain,
To form familiar names.
He waits for a response,
“Are you still wearing that black cloak…” I shout.
“…in this heat?”
I laugh out loud; too loud.
The boys around the bonfire on the sand look up,
Eyes wide and white.
Are they scared of him, or scared of me?
He’s not really interested in me.
I’m not really interested in me.
But he does want to hurt, doesn’t he always?
To see me broken and begging,
Long before it’s my turn.
That’s just the way it is, isn’t it?
One by one, he comes for the people you love.
Until you crack,
“No more; take me before you take another.”
Pleas which fall on deaf ears…normally.
Normally, but not for me.
I’ve outsmarted the bastard.
Cocooned all those I love in a shell of immortality,
And boy is he furious?
A petulant act, beneath him…
No, actually, exactly in character.
Because he couldn’t touch mine,
He left another on my doorstep,
Like a cat bringing his limp prize.
A fisherman’s boy, bloated and blue.
Washed up on the pale sand.
An offering if you like,
‘If I can’t have yours, I’ll take another’s.’
So mine all live on, exactly as I left them.
I know where they are and what they do,
That has never changed,
But they don’t know where I am,
Whether I’m dead or alive.
So, no letters, no phone calls, no emails.
No bad news.
My father, mother, brother, friends and lovers,
Each one happy, healthy full of life,
Out of his grasp, as long as I breathe.
I’ve got him beat and he knows it.
One day he’ll have to come for me,
Until then, they’re safe…
In my head.
I sink another vodka and he blends into the night.
I’m not foolish enough to believe I’m his only project.
I laugh again, but there’s no mirth,
I’ve cheated death,
And he’ll never let me forget the price.