Tom Raithel’s poems have appeared in The Southern Review, The Midwest Quarterly, The Comstock Review, Poetry East, Tipton Poetry Journal and other poetry journals. His chapbook, Dark Leaves, Strange Light, published by Finishing Line Press, is available on Amazon.com.
We read in the sunset a script of foreboding,
and the ruddy eye of the moon looks down.
A hunter in twilight woods raises his rifle.
A deer trembles into the crosshairs.
Now on a black patch of overpass ice,
a car spins madly, slams through a guardrail.
A man in a dark room wires his backpack,
eases it over his shoulder.
This is a time when skies drip death,
when the moon sets fire to storehouse and steeple.
Clouds whirl by in supreme agitation.
Wolf winds bound through alleys.
Behind tangled branches, a shot will ring out.
A car will plunge to the highway below.
And a man with a backpack will walk from his room,
blood moon full at the window.
Sometime between the brilliance of autumn
and cold clarity of December,
gray skies overtake our city.
Broad-winged geese, rowing, squawking,
veer above highways bustling with traffic.
Shadows grow long on the sidewalk.
Withered, brown leaves rush by.
So turning our collars up to the wind,
we reflect on our own departures,
for we’re like the man who walks his dog
up a street bordered by weather-peeled houses,
who will soon reach the top of the hill and be gone.