Marilyn Humbert

In the time of falling leaves
tidings of magpies swirl

I stop a moment,
pen poised, ruffling pages
in my mind

pale-men like mist
in hollows of oak and pine
gather below the crags of morn’

where land and sky knit
breakers sniff sand-riven shore;
the haunt of screaming gulls,

and the flood-tide of shadows
pinned under the breath
of those pale-men.

I’ve seen changelings;
the battle lined, fear stained
sprouting horns and devil’s tails,

pale-men touched
by the curse of ancient gods,
repatriated to the present

victims, fighting spectres
from the past.