Sometimes the sadness was crippling –
would leave me bed-ridden, restless,
my eyes hollow, regretful. I was Laurie Strode
in the 1981 film Halloween II. Alone
in a shuttered wing of a hospital,
in a haze of barbiturates. In movies and TV,
sturdy, wavy-haired men often tell
panicky, pretty women to “get some rest.”
Those sleepless nights, everyone out in the city
seemed to be asleep – the unlit Empire State.
Babies in incubators, unaware of what new era
they were entering. And in my halls,
the shape crept, smooth as Panaglide.
When it found me, nearly seizing me,
I tried to hobble away in my ill-fitting wig
like Gustav in Death in Venice, desperate
for the look of youth. The energy expended
in the fear of nearly calling a hotline made me
tired again. My heart pitter pattered
to The Chordettes singing “Mr. Sandman,
bring me a dream.” I woke from a dream
where the shape was burned in a blaze
in the shuttered wing of a hospital.
And in the new morning again I walked
down the sidewalk to work, and thought of myself
in the dream, down on the concrete
in an empty parking lot, turning to look back
at a figure walking out of fire.