My childhood nightmare, likely timed to pulse,
involved slow booming steps in the darkness
approaching relentlessly no matter
where I ran or hid in those cold shudders.
Only twice did dream produce my monster;
Gill Man, the Creature from the Black Lagoon,
dripping swamp water in three dimensions,
a colorless mass of sheen and shadow.
Raging tall at the gate he carried strength
and malevolent power masked by folds
and scales which hinted further expansions
of brutal and devastating embrace.
Mostly, I woke up before I saw him,
afraid that the beast would slap me aside
with Julia Adams unprotected
in a one-piece bathing suit behind me.
I feared for her and of failure, not yet
knowing that all the movie’s swimming scenes,
(including the water ballet where he
swims, synchronized, stroke for stoke under her),
were not Julia’s work but by Ginger
Stanley, a swimmer, Weeki-Watchi Spring’s
finest diva of underwater dance,
she even doubled for Esther Williams.
One, the other, both or every woman
I had yet to meet, it does not matter.
I’ve held the gate, protecting happy lives
and measures of success for all of them.
I try to not be macho about this.
One could swim and the other screams, but still. …
Tim Pfau is a retired EMT, Auditor and Union Organizer who now watches grandchildren and tells stories in Salem, Oregon. A former Board Member of the Oregon Poetry Association, his poems have appeared in journals, newspapers, anthologies, radio and mixed-media shows. “Salem” means “peace” and sometimes, it is so. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .