There is a man who is walking in the moonlight.
He wears an old, worn jacket. He walks slowly, with his arms folded.
It is a cloudy spring night, and the wind chills him. There is a scent of ozone in the air, and the man knows storms are on the way.
He does not walk on the well-lit main streets. He sticks to the dark residential roads. He sneaks across vacant lots. He slinks down dusty alleys.
Do not call the police. He is not a thief. He is not a stalker. He is not drunk. He is walking in the moonlight. He is drinking in the night sights, night sounds, night smells.
He peers over backyard fences at gardens of onions and carrots, at quiet cats, at cobwebbed BigWheels. He stares up at old sleepy trees and whistles to the dreaming birds above. He tells stories to himself about the houses he passes.
He stops to smell the perfume of the night blossoms, pale white and sinister. He watches a stray mongrel dog trot by two streets away and is watched by a small raccoon digging through the garbage in an alley.
He walks by the remnants of a keg party. A half-dozen people are sitting on the front porch watching stormclouds roll over the horizon. They are nursing warm mugs of beer. They wave drunkenly, and he waves back as he passes.
He walks past a police car. The cop inside is sipping black coffee and decides to let him pass... for now. Why do police believe a man walking at night is suspicious?
The man walks on. He pulls his old brown coat tighter around him as the wind, howling like the mother of a dead child, whips around him.
He walks into a small green park and stops to watch the swings dance and twist together as their chains jangle in the light of a lonely streetlamp. The man runs his hands along the curve of a slide. He spins the merry-go-round and pats a fiberglass pony on its nose.
Above him, clouds move across the sky as somberly as floating slabs of granite. They flicker with light, dim and masked beneath foggy drapes. They rumble from far away, and counting one-mississippi, two mississippi, three mississippi will not help you learn how distant or how near these dark rumblings are.
The man walks on, past rows of houses, past schools, past apartments, past derelict buildings and opulent mansions. He passes homes filled with slumbering families, watching insomniacs, the recently dead... and ghosts.
He walks on, beneath falling raindrops, beneath thick black clouds, beneath a waning moon, beneath the span of the universe.
He walks on, cold, as rain falls on him, slowly, then faster and faster. He walks on, soaked and dripping. He walks around some puddles and through others. He hears the distant splashes of cars driving on water.
He walks on and no one disturbs him.