The Shadowed Man


The shadowed man hides in dark places,
Hidden from scrutiny by most,
But not from me.

I often walk through this village late at night
And I see him,
See where he sleeps,
A narrow patch of grass between two brick buildings,
Hidden by overgrown bushes.

I see his dark profile as I walk down a nearby alley.
He is not young, but I cannot tell his age,
Even on this moonlit night.
He moves in determinate ways,
Like one with years of practice in living without a home.

Of all the dark corners in this village
He has chosen well.
Close enough to shuttered restaurants and discarded food,
Barely visible only to the rare midnight wanderer.

There is something deep and dark about this man,
Something like a force field that surrounds him,
Charged with misery and anger.
He is lost in a smothering fog of regret.

I keep my distance,
Pretending not to notice
As he moves purposefully in the dark,
Doing something with his few possessions.

He frightens me and I wonder if he carries a knife,
Wonder if he kidnaps little children on their way to school,
If he has been in prison,
If he’s a wanted man.

I hear the clack of punctured metal,
The opening of a can.
He steps out from the shadows,
Into the moonlight,
Into an empty parking lot
Where a gray and black tabby races to greet him,
Tail high with affection and appreciation
For this guardian angel who brings dinner each night,
This shadowed man who has ventured out,
Into the light.


~ Russ Allison Loar
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