Francesco Ungaro

The nighttime street before me lay
Shekeinah moonlit dim.
A hard and rain-soaked alleyway,
I walked upon a whim.

All shutters shut, all blinders blind
No souls to fill the street.
No smiles to greet a smileless mind:
An emptiness complete.

I passed an alley to my right
And glanced with caution’s eye.
A glint of metal pierced the night
The moment I walked by.

My steps now halted, frozen fear,
A panic urging flight,
An adversary, it was clear,
Had stalked me all that night.

A moment’s choice: to fight or run?
A coward or a fool?
To fight but die, what glory? None.
But death to pride? Too cruel.

A compromise: to strike and flee.
I pressed against the wall
And scanned the ground for weaponry
No matter great or small.

A single stone like David slung
I found amongst the trash,
Its solid shape I tightly clung
And readied for our clash.

One breath drawn deep, I slowly crept
Into the alley’s way
And as I moved he likewise stepped
From out into the fray.

I cast my stone straight for his skull
With hope and faith sincere
My enemy to thus annul
And end for once all fear.

With aim so true, the stone did strike
As accurate as can,
But shattered sounds I heard so like
A window, not a man.

No higher truth or greater dread
Had caused me then to flee,
Than broken mirror shards which said:
My enemy was me.

(Photo by Francesco Ungaro)