is not like the moon.
There are no pictures inside,
no face with a chewed off ear, crooked mouth
biting an apple.
It does not float in air, cannot be caught,
washed, hung up on a clothesline to dry.
But give the shadow a solid surface and it will transform
into a Corgi, a snake’s head ready to strike,
a dromedary kneeling.
No matter how you pose or walk,
it will never reflect you exactly,
will clone you inefficiently like the over-burdened
Michael Keaton, multiplied three-fold
to keep Andie MacDowell from complaining
in the film Multiplicity.
You might be long and thin
or Pickwickian rolly-polly, your fingers
fat and stubby, not at all as yours,
slim and straight, perfectly poised
over the piano keys.
It never makes you attractive,
flattens where you wish for curves,
does not show off the sexy sparkle in your eyes.
But sometimes when you are walking alone
in a deserted area,
another shadow appears next to your shadow
larger than yours, perhaps wearing a trench coat,
a large soft hat, a bulge in a pocket.
It could be that of a passerby hurrying home to dinner,
or of Mr. Hyde with no good on his mind
and you hurry into a store, or a coffee shop,
anywhere where there are people and no shadows.

Helen Tzagoloff has published in Barrow Street, Poetry East, The Evansville Review, Slant Poetry Journal, Poet Lore, Interpoezia: A Stranger at Home anthology and other journals. She has been nominated twice for the Pushcart prize and was the winner of the Icarus Literary Contest.