Word was

the Mitchell’s new adopted boy

was my age

and named after a rock.


Yet when summer of ’83

swept past without

so much as a flash of him outdoors,

my superstitions soon filed him under

Romanian lore / bloodsucker /

nocturnal citizen

of the undead club /


No killer stakes

were carved that summer,

save the edible ones dad cracked peppercorn over

and served to us medium well,

fancy grill-marks

seared in chain-link patterns.


My friend Paul swore he saw the kid

shape-shift into a bat one evening—watched it

flutter, swoop and cut sharply through the air

for insects

in the darkening plum-light.


The time I first spotted the kid for real,

the day had worn a hoodie

of low-hanging clouds.

I remember a drizzle

and the kid sporting Ray-Bans

with lenses as black as a welder’s mask.

An A-list celebrity in a public cameo,

he moved like an eel

as he got the mail and was back inside

slipperier than a movie star

dodging paparazzi.


Mom said Day Blindness

made daylight his enemy,

that his play outdoors could only begin

when the tangy sun sank

like a blood orange cut in half.


Afterward I was green-eyed

watching him shadow through his yard

under night’s gem-studded cap.

Every evening, as if bitten,

I was drawn to my bedroom window

with the eyes of a jealous jeweler.

Not to spy superstitiously on the neighbor,

but to marvel at the boy

named Emerald.

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About T. J. McGuire

1 2
When it comes to the act of writing, T. J. McGuire is Charlie being led by Wonka into a “world of pure imagination.” As a teen, memorizing song lyrics was the gateway drug to the harder stuff—poetry—to which now he is perpetually elevated, forever warped, hopelessly addicted. He is a published poet, whose...read more chapbook Mid-life Chrysler is doomed for public consumption in February 2017.
  2 months ago
I think at one time all of us has had a "mysterious" neighbor who elicited all sorts of speculation.

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