Page 62 - WTP Vol.VII #3
P. 62

Vigil (continued from preceding page)
So he decided to play along. “Where are the others?”
 The old man gestured toward the ground. “They’ll be along soon.”
“How old are you?”
The old man looked confused, then pointed to the dates on his tombstone, which suggested he lived three hundred years ago.
“Can’t you leave?” Alex asked. “No one leaves here.”
Alex laughed. “So what did you do to be trapped for eternity?”
“Don’t remember,” the old man said. Then he sat down on a large rock next to his grave, and that’s when the others began to appear, dressed in clothes from many different ages. They were an unhappy lot, curiously taking Alex in. They looked like they wanted to hurt him but couldn’t figure out how to do it. He turned
his attention to the girls again, who floated near a tall obelisk. “I’m ready,” he said.
“We know,” they whispered.
“No, I mean I’m ready, you know, for anything.”
“Yes, yes,” they hissed, still smiling, waving their fin- gers at him as if to say, “Naughty, naughty, boy.”
And then they vanished.
He tried to follow them, tried to lift off and escape into the sky, but he couldn’t.
And in that one terrifying, frozen moment, the dead were upon him.
 Johnson is the recipient of creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rhode Island Council of the Arts, along with a “Best Book of 2012” citation by Kirkus Reviews.
His second book of prose poems received the James Laughlin Award from The Academy of American Poets. His most recent book is a col- lection of prose poems, Old Man Howling at the Moon (MadHat Press, 2018), and an anthology he’s editing, A Cast-iron Aeroplane That Can Actually Fly: Commentaries from 80 Poets on Their Prose Poetry,
will be published this fall. “Vigil” is from a short story sequence called Shot, forthcoming in the spring of 2020 from MadHat Press.
acrylic, oil stick, plaster, crayons on linen
36’’ x 39’’
By Krista Harris

   60   61   62   63   64