In line at the Bon Marché in Seattle with my mother,
I heard a high-pitched scream. A woman ahead of us
laughed and said it was probably her husband, who
was afraid of escalators. Life moved on, but my mind
stayed in that groove for a long time—maybe a couple
of years. Somehow, that screaming man became a

villain, Snidely Whiplash-style, with mustache,
top hat, and cape. We moved from Seattle to
Thief River Falls, Minnesota, but the memory
moved with me, packed away someplace
secret, so I could play it like a Disney 45

in my playroom in the basement, any time
I needed to scare myself, any time I needed
to make my formless, nameless fear into
something I could turn on and off, or just
let play, over and over, until it was done.


For NaBloPoMo and PAD Challenge, Day 27 (prompt: write about a hero or villain). Also for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets, which will open at 3 p.m. EST today (Tuesday).


9 thoughts on “Villain

  1. Thank you, Claudia! I had a very normal childhood — mostly happy, with some bumps here and there — but when I look back, I can see that I had a lot on my mind, and a lot that I was trying to manage.

  2. Marilyn! I LOVE this…so many of us fail to see ourselves as we truly were then, confused by where these seemingly random subtleties that shape us come from…to see, to understand, to know and grow beyond is an amazing feat, and we seldom recognize the miracle that we are…

  3. intriguing verse….the thought of giving form to our fears so that we can turn it on and off is very interesting…and how certain things attach in our minds as well…i like the snidely whiplash ref as it adds a bit of fun to it as well….

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