No “Crossing” the Vampire

Hills blend into the brewing night;
this valley becomes the domain
of nocturnal creatures.  Nighthawk,
owl, and fox hunt mice; small lives.
Tonight one predator will drink the blood,
feed on the soul.  Mine.

The first bite stung; the second one
still burns, but I stand a chance
to avert the third incision that would
condemn me to living death.

In the distance drones a bell,
the bell of Saint Boniface church.
It calls the faithful to prayer.
I must find refuge there.  I have been
marked . . . and he is coming.

My home no longer is a safe haven;
I have no Christian artifact—and even
worse—no faith.  A cross?
The church!  I remember a church—
and the crossed timber; the symbol
of salvation.  Where is my pride,
my skepticism; where is my insolence now?

I glance back.  The dark form of the Undead
follows me, and I must hurry, flee.
Oh, he is fast!  If only I could reach the church.
I will cower before the Redeemer’s cross—
seek refuge in his power.

I have wings—or so it seems;
I race the final yards; do not look back!
He is behind me; I feel the icy breath;
the fiery eyes of the hunter boring into me.

One last effort; I run with burning lungs.  No door—
but I am inside the House of God.  Safe!
Safe? but where is the cross with the contorted
image of the crucified Savior?
Again I hear the bell—but it is miles away—

O God!  I have entered the old church,
the abandoned one.  No crucifix.  They had built
a new one!  I curse myself, for I should have
known, but I had lost my way long time ago.
I did not care.  Religion is for the old
and feeble, so said I.  Oh, my lack of faith!

The Undead enters, stands behind me,
and now he grips my shoulders.  And now . . .
I do not struggle but offer my throat to savage
teeth, while the distant bell tolls for me.

Jerry Kemp

Jerry has written and published two books: A Bouquet of Poetic Thoughts II and Galloping Pegasus, four humorous novellas.  Retired from his horse ranch and other activities, Jerry lives with his wife, two dogs, two cats, and numerous birds at the outskirts of the Sonoran desert in Arizona.  Celebrating his 82nd birthday in October 2016, ignoring the onset of Parkinson’s symptoms, Jerry continues on in his pursuit of happiness. He still paints, enjoys classical music and poetry by the old masters and, of course--writing.