An abecedarian lounging on the stair,
abandoned his studies and turned to thin air;
an incorporeal phantom gave him a fright,
extemporaneously freed from the alphabet’s bite.
From the book’s weathered spine out popped the ghost
bent on foulness at least, a kerfuffle at most,
and set about haunting the poor student forthwith
howling and moaning and indescribably glib
sarcastic, bombastic, ironic, trochaic!
Alarmingly witty, and unwholesomely prosaic!
The abecedarian fled from the hall,
batting the shades taunting his eyeballs.
“Help me! The words! They will not stop coming!”
But halfway across campus he went down stumbling,
bumbling, haphazard, knees knocking apace
he scrabbled in the grass for earthly embrace.
The ghost, all manic and mad and very, very eerie
took pity on the lad and blew away cheery.
Poltergeist gone, the student reclined
safe (maybe) he hoped from meter and rhyme.
Yet pockets of poetry haunted him thereafter,
dangling icicles of verse in metaphoric disaster…
That night over the country alphabet rained good and hard;
twisted similes hit the ground like blood on the sward.
Funky weather filled with letters plopped, splattered and burst
It was purple for days. The worst weather, I durst.
The captain called Rudy to the stern and asked him to peer through the spyglass. He took the telescope in hand and, reverently, put it to his face.
There, far beyond the strand of a green and lonely islet, was a woman perched on a slab of rock, surrounded by coral. The woman was nude. Her only claim to modesty was the length of her wet hair, which draped down from her shoulders and covered her shimmering skin.
Rudy had to have the spyglass pried from his hands.
After a moment’s collection, the young boy swallowed and addressed the captain. “Sir, there appears to be a woman in the middle of the ocean.”
The captain brought his corn cob pipe out of his pocket and proceeded to chew on the tip. With a grimace, he sighed and nodded. “I was afraid of that. I was hoping it was a manatee.”
He dismissed Rudy to the main deck and the boy drifted starboard to gaze abeam at the pink ghost in the distance. The gunner appeared beside him.
Squinting, the gunner shaded his eyes and followed the cabin boy’s hungry expression into the ocean. “Jove!” the man exclaimed. “There’s a gal out there!”
“Do you swim?” the gunner asked. No, said Rudy. “Shame,” said the gunner. “She looks lonely.”
Aliens, once, abducted me. This was, oh, I guess five years ago now. I was minding my own business and trying to get my head straight on the receiving end of a staggeringly ill-tempered storm front and a bad breakup. Coincidence, for the most part, though the walk through the oncoming rain began as a heated attempt at cross-meteorological contrivance. It was raining so hard and so thickly and so, in every iron rivet of the term, bitingly, coldly; hammering at me in waves, pummeling my scalp and seeping deep down my neck and down into my soggy underwear; that I staggered into the nearest building I could find with lights in it. Or what seemed like a building at the time.
True, I suppose the word abduction brings to mind a more forceful type of conveyance but it’s difficult to tell people you absconded with aliens or that you’d about had it with rain and Sheila too so you had to knock around in a spaceship for a few months on the unfashionable end of the Milky Way.
But I was young and you do crazy things when you’re in love, or were.