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Crying, I recall
my father shudders, remembering
tall thin men at the foot of the bed
apparitions at night, faceless
heads like pins, mostly arms,
sharp at their sides.
One of those things you stare at
open-mouthed, barely breathing,
waiting for it to go away.
Apparitions at night don’t stay,
you hope, a child,
my father, in bed, wanting
to cry, unable to see,
unsure if they
can see you too,
trying not to move,
their pin-heads just there,
at the foot of the bed, tall thin men-
I recall something like-
I see them when I walk slowly enough-
turn a corner, looking sideways-
there they are, the thin men-
always following, waiting for me
to cry out or move, pinning me
in bed, in memories of bed, even awake-
hard to escape, memory, and my father
a child, waiting.


The featured image accompanying this poem, entitled ‘The Night’, have been used with the permission of artist Patricio Betteo.

Robert Eric Shoemaker

Robert Eric Shoemaker is a poet, playwright, and journalist in Chicago. His work is published with the Chicago After Dark Anthology and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. For more info, visit

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