hiding neath the red oak tree

Kelli Sheckler-Amsden
2 min readFeb 13, 2024

silently lying, very still

they have never, ever found me

and I know, they never will


olly olly oxen free

they scream, hands cupped, with all their might

their call out is a guarantee

that I’m the last one found tonight


but until their eyes are on me

until they’ve bent to touch my skin

I whistle out a repartee

that I am never giving in


what fun comes with surrender

what’s the point of getting lost

when faced with a true contender

I protest, with both arms crossed


camouflaged in shifting shadows

my hands snugly over my eyes

until my will has decomposed

I can’t, I won’t — materialize


the art of game, of being lost

blending in and being quiet

searching until complete exhaust

to some is unrequited


to me, it is exhilarating

sends goosebumps up and down my spine

give up or hide, there’s no debating

I’ll be hiding all the time


to quit and trust a wordy promise

when win or lose is what’s at stake

I feel a bit like doubting Thomas

trusting makes my stomach ache


their voices faint, it’s getting darker

I almost go, but hesitate

this tree, my rock, my one safe harbor

I nestle in and show restraint


the wind begins to howl around me

wildly it whispers in my ear

my loving faithful red oak tree

begins to warn, trouble is near


the birds take flight, their wings a flutter

I close my eyes with all my might

the sky, with rain, begins to sputter

it is a dark and stormy night


a whisper “who” is drawing nearer

the voice, not one, I recognize

the yellow eyes are getting clearer

my hiding place is compromised


goosebumps begin to dot my body

these bumps crawl underneath my skin

the damp, cold ground is smelling soddy

I fear this night will do me in


why did I ignore the call, surrender?

who will save me from this fate

will I be forgotten, lost forever

will morning’s sun arrive too late


given the chance, I’d take the offer

at home, a winner , tucked in my bed

but lost I’ll be, hide and seeks martyr

under this red oak, I rest my head