Shadow Thief

I have a confession to make.
It happened that afternoon
as we lounged in the company of clouds.

The sun threw a few smoky rays
on our faces and your shadow
fell across my lap.

With a blade of grass I cut
a sliver from that careless stain
and slipped it in my pocket.

That evening when I fished it out
with a tumble of keys
and coins I was surprised

at how it darkened the grain
of my bedside table.
I've kept it all this time.

Sometimes at night
I'd let it out of my bedside drawer
and it would dance --

On a table, on a wall --
and every time it danced it grew.
It grew more like you.

Or so I thought.
Over time, through friends, I learned
of your growing sadness,

your increasing inability to dance.
I should have given back what was yours.
I couldn't, still cannot.

John Schouten

If you've any comments on his poems, John Schouten would be pleased to hear from you.