I saw the shadow upon the stair,
The long and spidery Slender Man.
In haste he flew to catch the door
But flickering street light foiled his plan.
It caught his shadow on the wall
And fixed it just beyond my gaze.
I nodded, caught, and dragged again,
And slowly blinked back my daze.
The stub of the Doctor’s Ave
Glowed brightly as I gazed away.
The stack fell off and hit my foot,
And Slender Man strolled from the grey.
“Good evening” I nodded, “A drag?” I offered.
He blinked slowly and shook his head.
I pondered why he had left his shadows
After lights out, the children abed.
Unblinking I gazed upon this phantom
Silently risen from the shade.
Like a Venetian medico, masked and morbid
In the midnight breeze he shimmered and played.
To the dormitory wall he wafted a finger
Where waved dark leaves and vines
The shadows fluttered, fantastic shapes,
And formed a pantomime of lines.
Danced the shadows on the wall
Long and inky with tendriled limbs.
Slowly swaying, to and fro like
A dark choir intoning hymns.
A tenor grey stands solo now
The younger shade of him before me
A smile fixed upon his face
His squiggled gift to everyone freely
Among the nodding flowers he frolicked
Though always starkly friendless
Thought they all, “He’s too distinct”
So off they pushed him endless.
Thus did Slender the boy become
The creeping terror of the man,
Though once happy, since rejected,
As only the cast-away can.
Darkness ordained, and seldom loved,
To solitary paths he keeps.
He wanders now in nomadic bondage,
Alone in nocturnal vigil he reaps.
The dervish swirls and shadows slow
The leaves and shoots come back.
Now I see a smiling soul,
Despite his overwhelming black.
Like most of us, Slender lacks not
Of complex labyrinths from his past.
Like most of us, he is so much more
If only we pause to look past.
In a swirl of nicotine and fumes
My head drops, down the rabbit hole
I float like Alice suspended light,
And reality returns in a thunder roll.
My sleep-filled nod shattered the dream
And I snapped upright on the bench.
I blinked and looked about me slow
Like a soldier sitting in a Somme trench.
The shades and shapes from the yellowed lamps
Bounced and flexed on the wall
But remained not my ghoulish friend
Or any sign of his midnight call.
I deftly flicked my frayed cigar,
Puzzling over the preceding sight.
Like a falling star the ember soared
And hissed as it hit the dew of the night.
With whirling thoughts I walked away
When slowly out of my slumbering fog
I recalled the visions parting echo,
A soundless, wordless, certain monologue:
“Sometimes the darkest basket
Contains the brightest light.
There is always more than meets the eye
And every day contains both day and night.”