“This is in Whisper” by Christina Johns


He waits.
A bit past the corner
of the building shaded
by noonday buildings, side by side,
almost on top of one another. And he straightens his coat.
The long, well worn gray piece has been erratically lightened by the sun
But in this chilly spring draft he doesn't care.

He knows.
Each day they pass here
with their laughing and giggling,
they pass here with their little girl tales
and fresh little girl smells they don't know
him as he waits with the gray trench now pulled tightly, but he knows them. He knows them well. And he watches them. And he waits.

Gina is the first.
How could they know?
Nobody knew as she was walking home
alone from catechism class she was missing
more days than some, fewer days than others
and neighbors searched quite frantic parents tried
hard not to panic before the body was found, but eventually it was found torn and mangled. Left like a piece of trash on a cool autumn day.

Still, he waits.
And he keeps watching.
Some days he doesn't know,
something happens inside him and
watching isn't enough anymore till quietly,
he calls to them. Asks if they want candy, asks
if they want a new friend-- a grownup who will understand.
Unlike all of those too busy to listen and appreciate them, he will be different. Though most of the children move away, swiftly and soundlessly, there is always that one, confused and alone, left to fend for herself in this darkly mad world. That lost and sad and lonely child will remain.

This is the one.
The children travel in packs
like wolves now and practice using
household items as weapons
Mom finds her best potato peeler
in the right front pocket of an over worn pair
of blue jeans (size eight slim) and Janie has been playing
with and studying her father's gun. Joey learns bomb-making and terrorism 101 on the Internet and all around society cries, wondering why kids know too much and seem to grow up way too soon.

Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring.
He is always there. Fidgeting with
his buttons, fumbling with his fly. Watching
and watching and watching.

He waits.
Because he can,
a bit past the corner of the building
shaded by noonday buildings, side by side,
almost on top of one another. His coat a long,
well worn gray piece has been erratically lightened
by the sun. But he doesn't care. There is an unbelievable dampness under his feet and it is spreading, and growing fast and furious.
He checks his fly.

He can't wait much longer.