It was all petticoats and periwigs,
frilly lace and folding fans,
waistcoats and embroidered breeches,
snuff boxes and jeweled walking sticks.
The endless table of dinner guests
in a candlelit hall. A legion of servants
at the ready to serve the feast.
Silver domes of the main course delivered
to the uncontained excitement of the invited.
Napkins affixed to each guest by the servants
to veil the diners' mouths ... and the banquet began.
Each entree consummated in secrecy - out of sight,
out of view - to the orgiastic delight of each gourmand.
A tiny bone ... a bloody appendage ... the minimal remains
deposited on the discard plates set beside them.
The only hint of what they had partaken.
In a bungalow at night
a single floor lamp
left on inadvertently.
And in the amber
cone of light
cast below the mica shade,
a gossamer shape detaches
makes the rounds to visit
every bedroom and every
sleeping occupant of the house.
And with the same
that a substance without substance
can make ... returns
from the sleeping hosts
to its world within
and beyond the cast light.
The hole in the rock
banking the water expands
into a tunnel that further burrows
beneath the city, and outfalls into a series
of caverns that flank the river at another point
around the bend.
Wintertime and the caverns are glowing
with ignited torches, ebullient with shadows
of gliding figures crosscutting in stuttering light.
And unknown to all the skaters, an ancient frozen thing
lurks in deeper shadows, drawn to the warmth of human forms.
Sleeping outdoors on an island
in the Adirondacks, a woodsman
is awakened to a vision of phosphorescence...
a mobile canoe, manned by an immobile
bolt-upright Amerindian, in ever-decreasing
concentric circles around the isle.
The lake is a mirror without ripples,
without reflection of an ever-nearing craft,
and the echoing cry of a loon
is the only sound and all the sound.
Alec B. Kowalczyk is a native of South Troy, New York, a civil engineer by day, with an interest in the mechanics of poetry. His work has been published in 69 Flavors of Paranoia, Semaphore Magazine, Pif Magazine, ChiZine, Yellow Mama and others, winning a Dark Animus award for poetry. Snark Publishing released his chapbook titled Shadow and Substance. Most recently some of his work can be found in Jeani Rector's The Horror Zine anthology titled Twice the Terror.
You can find Shadow and Substance HERE.