The Hurt & The Intruder

The Hurt

Red-faced, open-mouthed–a silent
scream in front of me–you press
your small hands to your sides.

At six, you live a pain so deep
you cannot speak or cry.

Breathless, between that tree
stump and the skaters circling
always on the pond,
                                     you look hard
at me,
                            then turn inside,
knowing, now, my words and touch
can’t soothe all hurts away.

Outside, the snow is concrete
hard beneath my boots; the trunks
of giant leafless oaks are tall and
straight and thick, like iron bars.
The air is bitter cold and thin,
and daylight hurts my eyes.

Stopped in this cold, dry, winter cell,
while slate-grey clouds are slamming
shut the sky,
                             I live the pain I cannot ease




The Intruder

Grown six inches in a year,
I wear a black half-mask, a baseball
cap and denim, the pant legs riding
half way up my calves.

Alone, at each lit door
I hold my mother’s shopping bag
before me, bare my teeth and mumble
“trick or treat.”

At eight o’clock, the sidewalks
empty; chaperones and parents guide
their ghosts and witches home.

Alone beneath the streetlights,
my long-legged shadow haunts the night.
I am out of place in time

On Woodlawn Street, porch lights
go out; doors are shut; familiar living rooms
and hallways disappear.

Like angry ghosts,
window curtains gawk and grimace
at me; jack-o-lanterns glare.


Projected Letters is a literary magazine dedicated to publishing the best new and established writing from around the world.


Bob Meszaros taught English at Hamden High School in Hamden, Connecticut, for thirty-two years. He retired from high school teaching in June of 1999. During the 70s and 80s his poems appeared in a number of literary journals, such as En Passant and Voices International. In the year 2000 he began teaching part time at Quinnipiac University, and he began once again to submit his work for publication. His poems have subsequently appeared in The Connecticut Review, Main Street Rag, Red Wheelbarrow, Tar River Poetry, Concho River Review, and many other literary journals.