Frozen in the headlights

The day darkened
as the storm drew near,
the gloom seeped into the room
where two small children played
The door began to open
and immediately
the man outside the window
put his fingers to his lips
in a hush gesture
and captured a little girl
Like a terrified animal
frozen in the glare of headlights
she stared

my heart hammered and I couldn’t move
or tear my eyes away from the window
as my mother put the light on
and left again, closing the door behind her
She didn’t notice my fear,
and I was too afraid to tell.

The child was lit up now,
exposed in the brightness
of the bulb like a
captive fish in a tank
caught and silenced.

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