By Elizabeth O’Connell-Thompson

When they come knocking,
I take them by the hand that had been a fist moments before
and show them something beautiful—
                                                                              a black creek in the woods,
                                                                              a doe’s skull in the field.
I lead them just far enough away that they can still see the house,
but not say if it is made of straw or stone.

While they are dipping their feet in the water
or watching how the sun sets on bone, I walk back
to bolt the door and light a fire,
holding myself as they had offered to do.

Today’s poem first appeared in Banshee, and appears here today with permission from the poet.

Elizabeth O’Connell-Thompson is a Chicago-based poet. She is the Literary Coordinator for the CHIPRC, where she leads the Wasted Pages Writers’ Workshop Series. Her work has been featured in RHINO, Banshee, and The Wax Paper, among others. Please send your truest thoughts and spookiest chainmail to

Editor’s Note: Today’s poem is the perfect blend of beauty and mystery. Taking us by the hand, the poem leads us through its vivid imagery, while leaving us to imagine who–or what–is the poem’s subject. The sense of the unknown becomes a character in the poem, leaving the reader with the same chill the causes the narrator to “bolt the door and light a fire, / holding myself as they had offered to do.”

Want to see more from Elizabeth O’Connell-Thompson?
Elizabeth O’Connell-Thompson’s official website
‘Invitation Only’ in Banshee
Wasted Pages Writers’ Workshop

About Sivan Butler-Rotholz

Sivan is the Managing Editor of the Saturday Poetry Series on As It Ought To Be and holds an MFA from Brooklyn College. She is a professor, writer, editor, comic artist, and attorney emerita. She is also the founder of Reviving Herstory. Sivan welcomes feedback, poetry submissions, and solicitations of her writing via email at sivan.sf [at] gmail [dot] com.
This entry was posted in Elizabeth O'Connell-Thompson, Saturday Poetry, Saturday Poetry Series and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Nisthur Anadi says:


  2. Maya Elashi says:

    I shan’t be the first to say it, but Yes: Beautiful!

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