Anthony W. Pahl


I crossed a black cat’s path today
Thought nothing of it till I heard him say,
“Beware the witching hour tonight.
More than bed bugs are out to bite.”

“I’m mad! So sad, too bad,” I thought.
“Or did I just hear a moggie talk?”
I swallowed hard to clear my throat
and took a breath before I spoke.

Feeling kind of dumb and with shuffling feet
I asked the black cat to repeat
the words that he had said before
“What if he didn’t…? Mad for sure!”

Haughtily and in his time, this is what he said,
“You silly human, don’t you know, you’re not even safe in bed.
At the waxing of the moon tonight,
at witching hour, the bugs will bite.”

“If you walk near the graveyard gates
wear a garland of garlic and carry wooden stakes.
The vampires will be out in force
looking for your blood of course.
And stay away from the belfry tower
unless you want a bat’s piss shower.”

“The gargoyles, werewolves, ghosts and fiends
will stop your heart with their shrieking screams.
The zombies, skeletons and evil dead
will freeze your mind with malevolent dread.”

“Carry holy water and a wooden cross
to ward of the undead of course.
But if you want to be really safe,
be sound asleep and in dreams escape.”

“All these things I know you know but I wanted to remind you.
Expectation makes fear grow but fear is right behind you!”

A black cat crossed my path today:
Thought nothing of it till I heard it say,
“I’m in your dreams. I can only speak
when you want me to… when you’re asleep.”

Author’s Note: I attended a writing workshop in Torquay in Victoria. Friday the 13th, being the first day of the workshop, the participants decided that that would be an appropriate theme for the weekend. We were tasked to create a work accordingly. This poem was my contribution.