It is dark outside when he stops you
on the street, asking you questions
that take on the color of 11:00 PM:
how are you, and do you live here,
and fine night we’ve got. He has
a dainty smile, two dimples,
boyish eyes that remind you of
Peter Pan. But didn’t Peter kidnap
those kids? What did that BBC article
say about that girl that washed up
on the riverbanks? Did she drown
or was she found without shoes?
You heard that you are supposed
to hold your keys between your fingers,
think Wolverine, think powerful,
think cat puffing fur and spine.
But he stands a foot away, and
he is smoking a cigarette — is he
your neighbor? Out for a walk.
You smile and nod, and he tells you
an old joke about chickens
you had once read on a popsicle stick.
His laughter sounds like the snarls
of one who hides in wool.
Christine Nguyen graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Stephen F. Austin State University. Her work has appeared in Structo, SunDog Lit, and The Blue Route. She currently lives between mountains of books with her three opinionated cats.
Artwork: Brassaï, Black Cat, 1945