Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile PenUltimate Productions Website Previous Previous Next Next
The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Lurking"

This poem came out of the October 4, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from ravan.  It was sponsored by janetmiles.  This poem comes fairly early in the Monster House series, after "Home Shriek Home."  You can read more about this series on the Serial Poetry page.


We hadn't been in the house for long
when we noticed something
a bit odd about it.

Sometimes the lights
flickered and went out for no discernible reason.
I raised an eyebrow at the little old lady ghost,
but she silently shook her head.

Sometimes the shadows
moved against the lighting, stretching
along the floorboards like strands of black taffy.
I glanced at the bogeyman,
but he just shrugged and said,
"Don't look at me.  I'm clear over here."

My girl grumbled
and twitched her shoulders
and scratched her back as if it itched.
"It's like being in a chatroom,"
she said one afternoon,
"when there's a new person in the group
and they don't type anything,
they just lurk,
but everyone knows they're still there."

"Well," I said slowly, thinking out loud,
"some people lurk because they don't intend to join in,
and some people lurk to make certain of their welcome."

"Please feel free to make an introductory post,"
my girl said invitingly,
but the shadows remained quiescent.

That Friday night, we made popcorn
and watched classic horror movies.
My girl and I piled onto the hide-a-bed
with the monsters under-the-bed and in-the-closet
tucked underneath it, the troll and the bogeyman
on either side, and the little old lady ghost in her rocker.
We giggled like mad
at all the things the movie got wrong.

Before long, though,
the lights began acting up
and something slithered along the wall.
I sighed and snuggled my girl,
trying to ignore it.

Then the television popped
and the picture dissolved into streaks of light.

"All right, that does it," I said.
"You can lurk in the corners as much as you like,
but if you keep screwing with the TV set,
I'm going to get really cranky.
Now, why don't you just come out here
and watch the movie with the rest of us?"

The television emitted a fizzling sound
and the picture returned to normal,
but nothing else changed.

"When logic fails," my girl murmured,
"try whimsy instead."  She stuck her hands
in front of the floor lamp and made a bunny,
complete with four legs and a poofy tail.
The shadow-rabbit hopped cautiously
around the floor, sniffing at everyone's toes,
then settled in front of the couch and curled up to sleep.
My girl wrapped her arm back around me
and returned to watching the movie.

Ever so slowly, a patch of darkness
slunk toward us, like a pool of molasses spreading.
We all kept our eyes trained on the movie.
Hesitantly the lurking shadow draped itself
over the end of the hide-a-bed next to the bogeyman.

The bogeyman regarded the lurking shadow
with his grave, pale eyes.
Then he held out the bowl of popcorn.

The lurking shadow scooped up a handful,
and then said, in a voice like dry leaves rubbing together,
"Thank you."

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Current Mood: busy busy

9 comments or Leave a comment
kelkyag From: kelkyag Date: December 19th, 2011 06:58 am (UTC) (Link)

Is it correct to conclude that the lurking shadow was in residence here before the humans and the non-human roommates who came with each of them moved in, from this?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 30th, 2011 12:47 am (UTC) (Link)


The lurking shadow came with the house. So we're starting to see the different origins of the various residents.
eseme From: eseme Date: December 26th, 2011 02:50 am (UTC) (Link)
I really do love this series, and enjoy each of the monsters getting their own "Creature Feature" poem. It's fun!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 28th, 2011 11:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm happy to hear that.

Yeah, I have tried to highlight different monster housemates in different poems. I don't think I've done quite all of them yet, but I'm getting there.
From: rhodielady_47 Date: February 15th, 2012 05:49 am (UTC) (Link)
There's nothing quite like the beginnings of a friendship is there?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 15th, 2012 06:12 am (UTC) (Link)


That's true. People wondered how the characters got together; this is one of the poems I wrote in response.
From: rhodielady_47 Date: February 16th, 2012 04:41 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

I like it.
je_reviens From: je_reviens Date: October 3rd, 2014 06:04 am (UTC) (Link)
I love this so much!!!!
fayanora From: fayanora Date: March 23rd, 2018 05:55 am (UTC) (Link)
9 comments or Leave a comment