There is a man
at my back patio door.
He’s bleeding.
A knife in one hand – a hammer in the other.
I know what to do and call 911.
Distant silken voice leads me
through the logic of the situation.
Do you know him?
Have you seen him before?
He’s crouching down
in the far corner of my deck.
He’s afraid.
How badly is he hurt?
The blood is not flowing.
He wants to come in.
I’m afraid to let him in.
That’s ok.
You’re sure you don’t know him?
The police are on there way.
He quickly moves closer to the glass door.
Sits with his back against the railing.
If I could reach out, I would touch him.
Desperate breathing, eyes searching
all corners of the dark.
His weapons left on the other side of the deck,
he picks up a stick for protection.
She asks me for my phone number.
I struggle to remember.
She asks me if he has facial hair.
He’s afraid, I say.
They’re almost there.
He holds an imaginary glass
to his mouth and tips.
I try to figure out how to get him water.
They’re almost here, I say loudly to him.
He’s thirsty, I say. He needs to drink.
They’re at the front of your house she says.
He drops the stick.
Downcast eyes look into empty hands.
I anticipate the end.
They’re waiting for another car, she says.
Because of the knife.
I only want to give him water.
He turns toward me.
Blood framed eyes, open mouth,
rise and fall of breath.
They’re almost here, I tell him.
They’re just being safe.
A sharp light illuminates the porch
and a voice calls.
He stands, hands above his head,
and walks away.