The Shed

“The Shed” was first published in the HWA Poetry Showcase Volume III. ($2.99 for the ebook or $7.99 paperback.)

If you prefer to listen or want to read along, I really enjoyed Pete Mesling’s reading of “The Shed” on his show The Bare Knuckle Podcast! In this episode Pete reads a selection of several poems from this year’s Showcase. If you’re in a hurry, my poem starts at 16:50, but they’re all worth listening to. Listen above, read below — or both. Enjoy!

The Shed

The lawn lays wide
and bright with yellow
sunshine, spread flat
with no corners,

except the shed.

The shed’s paint is pale
but dull, as if the owners
who inherited it
thought the best
they could do was make it
“blend in.” And it does,
for a second

until your eyes catch
the black rectangle
of the haphazardly open doors
stuck in their tracks
gummed up with debris putrefied
to the same color of black,
jarring in all that wide bright.

And you try not to picture what lies in there
what things might collect and colonize in a structure
so low and squat,
but there you go picturing centipedes
and scorpions, spiders and weevils, snakes and rats,
and other, darker things that can’t be
– can’t possibly be in that shed – yet there
you go picturing them: tentacles from corners
and tall, pale men standing against the walls,
and chittering, creeping things that slide down off the ceiling and
open your doors  at night, when they can’t be seen,
but then, then, that’s not the most disturbing
part of that old shed.

The most disturbing part is how the structure itself seems sly and sentient with its thin metal walls propped like foldable gills, with its near-flat little roof peaking subtly like an eyebrow, how its rotted wood floors lie in panels, like they could all be rolled back like a tongue shoving food to the gullet, how that open rectangle of black at the doors sits still, patiently, waiting, and how eventually, when this moment of feverish imagination has regressed under the rightful armor of adulthood and you have nearly forgotten all about it (nearly),
you will have to go inside it.

© Annie Neugebauer, 2016.

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  • I adore that end! Serious chills, Annie! “tall, pale men standing against the walls” was the creepiest part for me, and I loved the “tongue shoving food to the gullet”! Thank you for reposting this!

  • Eeek! I’m not going near that shed. In fact, I’ll never enter a shed again. :O

    • Haha! That’s a decent excuse not to do yard work, now that I think of it. 😉

  • Melissa Crytzer Fry

    Whoa. Beautifully, creepily written — and reminds me that I might not have grown my “rightful armor of adulthood”… My childhood bedroom was quickly abandoned for MANY years (I only JUST slept it in again during a visit). Why? My mom made new curtains, which we photographed at night. My dad looked at the developed photo (Polaroid camera that spat the photo right out) and said… “Do you SEE what is in that picture”? I swear it was a giant eyeball. In other views, it appeared to be a giant eye, ad you could make out a jagged/haggard nose… It creeped me OUT for years. We took multiple photos that night and there was always SOMETHING there. Might need to make that into my own short story or poem. Thanks for bringing back that haunting memory. Ha ha.

    • Thanks so much, Melissa! Sorry for the flashback, though. That does sound supremely creepy. Yikes!

  • AndreaBlythe

    I love this, and my favorite part is how as the poem progresses with the shed loosing structure, the poem itself loosens and looses some of its structure, too.

  • Agree with chills and not going near the shed!