A Sound Outside the House

Mark A. McCutcheon


It’s after eleven, the kid’s asleep, hopefully she’s driving home from her shift by now, you’re scribbling on the hot laptop at the kitchen table messy with placemats paper and crumbs, you hear a sound outside the house, like the yard gate banging open, you wait to hear her turn her key in the side door, but nothing, she doesn’t turn her key in the side door, the wind picks up now, that sound outside wasn’t the gate, was a different bang, was it upstairs, the wind wheezes through the elm branches, you weren’t expecting rain until tomorrow, maybe the sound was the rain not the gate, you go to the living room window, part the curtains to see if it’s raining, if she’s parking, but it’s not raining, she’s not there, the wind bends over the election sign that pins down the lawn, a hare bolts from the green shadows around your neighbor’s dim house across the street, running straight for your house, no, not a hare, a white cat, running at the light spilling through the split drapes, at your face in the window, you don’t know this cat, it’s got no collar, close the drapes quickly, fear splashes you, cold as cloudburst rain, if it’s really not raining, if that cat weren’t wearing the kid’s face, if the gate’s not banging again.



Mark A. McCutcheon lives in Edmonton and teaches English literature at Athabasca University. His poems and stories are forthcoming or published in journals like On Spec, EVENT, Kaleidotrope, Carousel, and sub-Terrain; “Heaven help the roses” placed as Runner-Up in Into the Void’s 2017 poetry contest. Mark is the author of The Medium Is the Monster (Athabasca UP, 2018), a study of Canadian Frankenstein adaptations; his literary criticism also appears in The Explicator, Topia, and other scholarly periodicals.