The Visitors

by Duncan Jones

It started when the dogs began
To beg to come inside
So no one really noticed
That the cats had gone to hide

And all the squirrels and birds ...
They too had gone somewhere
But no one really noticed
Made a note, or wondered where

It was a windy autumn night
Some time near Halloween
Had arrived in dark some visitors
Who for hours went unseen

Some ran across the rooftops
Some on fences stood up tall
Some waited in the branches
Some climbed up city hall

And no one’s sure who saw them first
Perhaps a child of three
But soon rolled in reports like
“Mom, there’s something in that tree ...”

And “Hang on, did you hear that?”
With a little fear conveyed
And, “Is there something in the yard?”
And, “Why’s the dog afraid?”

Then one by one rang telephones
From the homes to local shops
And, “Oh sweetie, don't be silly!”
Turned to, “Honey, call the cops ...”

Quick as ever came authorities
And they guessed at this or that
But with many of such calls
They knew it wasn’t “just a cat.”

So for a while there was a neighborhood
Inside and peering out
Until finally flashlights led the charge
“What on Earth’s this all about!?”

So then there was a neighborhood
Standing, staring in the night
Realizing they had company
And feeling rather impolite

And feeling rather insecure
Feeling suddenly a chill
And like maybe being quiet
And maybe standing very still

For all around and high up
Hundreds, thousands looking down
On what was just some time before
A very normal town

In the darkness shined wild eyes
Some children counted pair by pair
But every time the wind would gust
It seemed like more were there

For a long time they were silent
Simply shadows, rather slow
And while down below nobody moved ...
It felt like time to go

Flashlights showed that they were smiling
With long and laughing tongues
Soon they were leaping, shrieking
With strong and laughing lungs

They began to talk amongst themselves
And groups of them would scream
And in the moonlight, flashlights
Big teeth and claws would gleam

Their eyes looked rather clever, mean
Like playground bullies waiting
And their smiling, shrieking chatter grew
As if they were debating

A few times one would hang down low
Or drop on to the ground
Then just as quickly vanish back up high
With hardly any sound

They also seemed to love the wind
Were strong like bears or apes
Down below some couldn’t take it
Rushed inside and closed the drapes

But the show continued on above
With much more of the same
And though they never hurt a soul
It was a very eerie game

And no one really knows quite when
But they slowly disappeared
One by one from all the fences, trees
One by one the rooftops cleared

It was hard to notice in the dark
Just at some point they were gone
Left the neighborhood dumbfounded
Out there standing on their lawn

And that’s really the whole story
Not a whole lot left to say
No one knows of if or when
They’ll ever come again one day

Sometimes it all gets talked about
But the versions tend to blend
And the only solid answer is
“It’s hard to comprehend.”

So the town returned to normal
To their jobs and their to-do’s
And the strangest part of all ...
It never even made the news