This poem is a bit different from what you might expect from me. It’s what comes from reading too many romances and ghost stories, I suppose. In any case, I hope you enjoy it.
The Witching Hour Like the heroine of a Gothic novel, she roams the night searching for something she isn't sure exists with only a dim candle to guide her way. The air thick with the lemon oil that polished the banister and the stairs creak with each step. The rhythmic ticking of the pendulum on the ancient grandfather clock calms the frantic beating of her heart, but it is a false tranquility that shatters when on the chimes bong. Three o'clock. The witching hour. She gasps and grips the candle tighter. She doesn't believe in witches, but ghosts are another matter altogether. When she was young they spoke to her and played hide and seek in the big old house. Her mother laughed at her wild imagination; her father only shook his head, resigned that he would never understand women. She wasn't a child any longer and the voices had been silent for so long she'd started to believe her mother was right and it was just her imagination. Until today when she walked the halls again, studying the old paintings that lined the walls, and was drawn to the man with eyes as green as the velvet coat he wore. She remembered those eyes in the face of a boy, a boy who always found the best hiding places. She fell asleep thinking of the boy and the man in the green velvet coat. The rain pelting against the window woke her and lightning cast shadows in the room. The door she remembered closing was ajar. How could that be when she was alone in the house? Now here she was creeping along dark halls with no protection save the candlestick she held. She followed whispers, unsure whether they were dreams or the wind. When she reached the bottom of the stairs lightning flashed and thunder cracked together. Illuminated in that instant she saw the man in green velvet and heard him whisper in her ear, “Welcome home.”
~Elise Skidmore © 2021