When I was eight we lived in Clevenger Canyon
in a forested lot with a dirt driveway.
The wooden house, dusky red,
seemed to grow right out of the forest floor.
It conversed at night with the whispering trees.
As the oldest kid, I got to stay up
one-half hour later than my brother and sister.
That meant at bedtime I had to travel alone
down a long dark hall to reach the bedroom we shared.
Every single night a witch chased me.
Black cape, frazzled hair, wicked grin—she wanted
to get me real bad. So I ran down that endless hall,
tried to quietly open and close the door,
dashed to the bed shedding robe and slippers,
dove in and pulled the covers over my head.
Only then was I safe.
This perilous chase took place every night of the year
we lived in Clevenger Canyon. She never got me. But it was close.
Now, every once in a while, I see the witch
peeking out between racks of clothes at the Goodwill,
slipping among the pews at church, or driving over the speed limit
on the freeway to Springfield. She winks.
I grin back.