Scooby-Doo’s creators knew nightmares
even better than pratfalls. How every wall
is false, sure to lead to the waiting arms
of the monster, leaving no barrier between
fear and the facing it. How you know your friends
are somewhere in a creaking, cobwebbed corridor
calling out your name, but you can’t hear them.
Only your own echoing cry reaches your ears.
It’s true: the villain is always, in fact,
one of the first two or three people
you have met to guide you through this new place.
The power outage is never just the storm.
Every rumor of danger in the shadows
is indeed a reason to seek out the light.
Even the hallucinatory, madcap
chase scene, with its Rube Goldberg machine
is dead-on. Everything really does depend
on dime-store roller-skates, an oversized fan,
a wooden washtub, and glue fashioned
from nothing more than a stick of chewing-gum
and a surplus of unshakeable belief.
But more than anything else, they captured
the weightlessness through which panic becomes
a kind of peace. In my dream, for example,
there is a man I am required to kill,
my dawning terror not of the unknown,
but of knowledge itself. I know him well.
How comforting it is to find my feet
spinning harmlessly in the air, my quarry,
like any member of Scooby’s amiable,
rag-tag gang, safely just beyond the reach
of my monstrous, unfamiliar hands.
Lucas Jacob is the author of the full-length poetry collection The Seed Vault (Eyewear Publishing, 2019) and the chapbooks A Hole in the Light (Anchor & Plume Press, 2015) and Wishes Wished Just Hard Enough (Seven Kitchens Press, 2019). His poetry and prose have appeared in print journals including Southwest Review, Hopkins Review, and RHINO, and online in journals including Valparaiso Poetry Review, Sequestrum, and Jet Fuel Review. He is a high school teacher and writing-instruction consultant whose career has brought him many wonderful things, including the honor of serving as a Fulbright Fellow in Budapest, Hungary. His author site is http://lucasjjacob.com and he can also be found on Twitter at @Lucas_J_Jacob