Dear Lon Chaney, Jr.
Maybe I’m the only one who sees the pelt
across your bare face. I know a quiet man
like you, a man who’s quick with a laugh
and a fist, the first to break a vase across
his rival’s head. You lean and smile and hold
yourself in amiable check. I see your hands
around a throat. I see the wreckage floating
in your wake. Though you prefer autumn’s
glassed night skies, a single cloud burnishing
the moon, and though it’s spring now, and
daylight, and the yard is sprouting daffodils
and dandelions fur the grass, I’m afraid you
still make me afraid, even in the light.
You make me smaller than I am. I’m the one
who sees, the one who knows you wear
your costume inside-out, who knows
about your hidden skin, knows you let
the huddled animal out, let the howling begin.