The Slim Man

by Rachael Allen

A landscape unpainted:
a cold stream of lean black weeds
leading towards a stile
and a field tilting up.
Trees turn to veins against marbly sky
in the half hour before night.

During a certain moon
children are said to have seen
a slim man walking over the field
in a low mist, towards the stile,
leading a girl
in pale blue pinstripes
into the glowing pinstripe forest beyond.

Sometimes he will stop and lean down,
and scrape the earth,
then earth and touch are knotted
for they are both cold.
No one is scared of him,
more of the thick dark brook, drowned roots
and full night, the pitiful rabbits’
eyes yellow on the hillside.