Shane Seely was a featured poet at the April 12, 2015, Poetry & BBQ.
Always after dark, the night before the trash man came,
I lifted each black sack bulging from its metal can
and piled it outside. Even with my back turned, I could see
my parents in the warm light of the kitchen window,
their conversation pantomimed. Above the garage door,
a mercury lamp spilled a pool of bluish light not far enough
to illuminate the whole driveway, which curved in its descent
around a brushy bank. By the time I’d hauled my burden
halfway down the drive, the only light was stars. The mailbox
had a ghoulish face, and every tree had hands. Behind
the boxwood, something coughed and snarled. A ghost
sighed into the wind and kicked a stone that clattered out ahead,
as if in warning of the dangers waiting where the driveway
met the road. And so I raised my lone defense,
the lone defense of children sunk in darkness everywhere:
I sang. Not well or even sure of what I sang, I murmured first
then called more clearly against all lurking terrors—I pitched
my boy’s falsetto against the black glass of rising night,
as if to crack it, as if to punch a gap that light might run through.
I sang the bags to their resting place, then turned to face
the path, the silent trees, the surface of the lit world. I sang
returning, too, wary of the fate of those who look behind.
– Shane Seely
Published in The Surface of the Lit World, Ohio University Press.