The Sense of Being Looked At

THE SENSE OF BEING LOOKED AT

Around the corner, footsteps. A heel
clicking stone. The slosh of loose gravel

and then the no-sound itself conspicuous—
even the crickets hold their breath, hush

their rough legs while deep inside houses
women reading bedtime stories pause

to change their endings, one good wish
at a time. A car sails by with its lights off,

but Elvis on the radio still crooning after all
these years, still young—like nothing’s gone

wrong. When you turn, the trees spring back,
defensive. They point to each other all at once,

a dozen limbs like the Scarecrow’s saying,
He went that way. No, no, he went that way.

–from American Fractal
first published in Cranky

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