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In the Night

by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

The light was burning very dim,
The little blaze was brown and red,
And I waked just in time to see
A panther going under the bed.

I saw him crowd his body down
To make it fit the little space.
I saw the streaks along his back,
And bloody bubbles on his face.

Long marks of light came out of my eyes
And went into the lamp—and there
Was Something waiting in the room-
I saw it sitting on a chair.

Its only eye was shining red,
Its face was very long and gray,
Its two bent teeth were sticking out,
And all its jaw was torn away.

Its legs were flat against the chair,
Its arms were hanging like a swing.
It made its eye look into me,
But did not move or say a thing.

I tried to call and tried to scream,
But all my throat was shut and dry.
My little heart was jumping fast,
I couldn't talk or cry.

And when I'd look outside the bed
I'd see the panther going in.
The streaks were moving on his back,
The bubbles on his chin.

I couldn't help it if they came,
I couldn't save myself at all,
And so I only waited there
And turned my face against the wall.