The Shadow Man

By Madeleine Dunlop

Dark embers danced on the wind in a stream,
Staining the blue sky, in my strange dream.
Something behind me caused me to shiver.
I turned to see a man covered in a shadowy river.
‘Who are you?’ I said, barley more than a mutter,
But he simply turned; not a single word did he utter.
So I followed the shadow man – over fields and hills.
Still he did not falter or bend to my will.

Every time I seemed to get near,
He zigged farther away and I was swallowed by fear.
His gait and posture were terrifying,
Yet the way his shadows danced was mystifying.
Something about him seemed so familiar.
Even though his form was ever so peculiar.
He was a black hole, sucking up all the light,
His form and silhouette made of pure night.

Finally, he stopped at the edge of a cliff.
The sight of him still made my body go stiff.
But onward I surged until I stood by his side,
He said to me, ‘Ready to swallow your pride?”
I looked at him only to my horror did I see,
Was myself staring back at me.
My very own face hid behind ebony shadows,
And every terrible thing I had done, all of my lows.

I took one look at him, then let out a shaky breath,
And hugged him – myself – until nothing was left.
He crumbled in my arms, ashes in the wind.
Blowing up into the air, until his shadows rescind.
And when I woke, I looked into me,
There was nothing I didn’t love that I could see.
So I thanked the shadow man and went on my way,
Forever thankful for the dream I had had that day.