Aubade for My Son and the Morlock

Joel Ferdon


They started the night he pulled

the last bead and feather

from the dreamcatcher,


a haze of ornate yellow

tucking its way between

the blind slats. And just like


that, he asks for the cloud

light to be on at night.

I know I trapped them in


with him— nightmares of

the father— but I can’t say

for certain it’s the sun


setting outside his window

or a pair of their stalactite

eyes looking to see


if the coast is clear. Light on,

light off. More prayer

than repetition


as he chants from inside

the locked door. After weeks

of sleepless nights, we


unplug the bright cloud hanging

from above his bed that drives

the dark from the well-lit places.


Something in my room. But of course

it can’t be. When he pulls the night

light from the wall and can’t


figure the outlet from

the uneven patches, we hear him

slam into the door and scream.


When we struggle through

the rest of the house’s

dark, we see his fingers


stretched from underneath the door–

red specks and a patch of bleached blue

fur leading in, or,


God forbid,

trailing out.




Joel Ferdon’s chapbook, Elegy for My Father’s Bones, was published by Louisiana Literature Press in 2016, and his poems have appeared, or will soon, in Verse Daily, Asheville Poetry Review, Flyway, The Southern Quarterly, Cold Mountain Review, storySouth, Louisiana Literature, Star*Line and elsewhere. Joel is the recipient of an Artist Support Grant through the North Carolina Arts Council and the Arts and Science Council of Charlotte/Cabarrus Arts Council, has been a contributor at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He serves as the Director of Library Services at Stanly Community College in Albemarle, North Carolina, and lives with his wife, son, and three black labs in Charlotte, North Carolina.