Dirge for Daniel Down

Dan-iel, Dan-iel, the woman wailed.
Dan-iel … Dan-iel … to no avail.
People went their ways on the street, with gray shoes,
and brisk, silent steps.
Evening fell.  The woman gathered
the remains of summer’s fruit on her porch
into a convenient corner.
Dan-iel … Dan-iel … her wailing echoed.
Stillness.  A stillness came up from the end
of the street, borne along on the breeze
from tree to tree.  The woman’s still wailing.  In vain.
Her strength is waning.  She’s made of dust and fear
in the heat.  She’s hot.  The screaming is dire—
chaotic, irrational.
Dan-iel …  Dan-iel …  What’s that chill
whispering across your skin so pale?  Dan-iel … Dan-iel,
don’t fail your mother.  Time’s running out.  Daniel beware.
Daniel whose sleep is red, whose tooth
is dire.  Sleep sweetly Daniel down.