Summer Outside the Mount Wilson Observatory

I stepped outside, lit a cigarette.
No worries now that programs were set
Twilight shimmered that solstice night,
I marveled at stars’ glimmering light.

When to my surprise, I heard,
A song sung sweeter than any bird.
I wondered if my eyes deceived,
They held a sight I scarce believed.

Within the wood, through the trees,
Satyr and faun danced with ease.
Having spied my cigarette’s light,
They turned and seized me with delight.

We danced around a great bonfire,
Its flames growing ever higher.
Somehow, to my embarrassment,
I became centered in their merriment.

Before the fire, I was performing,
When without a single warning.
The night took on a drastic turn,
They pushed me in the flames to burn!

“We swear each summer to burn a man,
For the greater glory of mighty Pan.”
Fortunately, I awoke to see,
My cigarette butt burning me.

I stamped it out and looked around,
But there was nothing to be found.
No fire, no satyrs, nothing at all,
Had I just dreamed it all?

My hand stinging from the burn,
I knew it was late and had to return.
Then a sound carried on the breeze,
Like a flute coming from the trees.

I ran inside the observatory,
Knowing I had seen Pan in all his glory!

[Author of the critically acclaimed graphic novel Afterlife (YALSA quick picks selection), screenwriter of The Deal, a ghost writer on a Steven Seagal film (advance apologizes if you’ve seen it, I was following the producer’s instructions), and author of numerous stories and poetry. Hayes has written for Nigel Lythgoe (producer of American Idol), The Weekly World News, and his epitaph. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he now resides in Los Angeles where the smog is slowly killing him. He can be found in old parking lots, abandoned malls, or at]