William B. Watterson

Rookie - 18 Points (23 August 1943)

Encounter - Poem by William B. Watterson

The road was winding, steep, and slick.
Hard, cold rain fell in stinging sheets,
Sharply drumming against melting windows
In a steady tattoo. I inched my way
Across Jonas Ridge, around Gingercake Acres,
Past Brown Mountain, dropping mile after
Tortuous mile into the valley by Rose Creek.
Tension hung suspended inside the car
Thicker than the mist that hung outside.
Spectral trees flickered jerkily by,
Withered arms reaching out, phantasms
Grasping from out of a waking dream.
The engine whined, while I, dulled
By its constant thrumming drone, stared
Transfixed at the slowly disappearing
White lines lazily chasing each other
Into the murky, gray eternity that
Lay beneath my hissing, spinning wheels.
Around a switchback, suddenly a shape,
Dark and mysterious, loomed out of the fog.
Three spiked heads sprang from an earthen
Bank and loped across my path a headlight’s
Reach away. Squinting, I peered at
Where they’d been, or where I thought
They’d been, imagining a black hole
In the vague shape of deer gradually
Filling up with the gathering gloom.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, December 9, 2009

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