Five Horrific Poems by Emma Deimling

The Silence of a Wood

Burned forest unraveling, 
One branch sparks and snaps, 
Nighttime thunderclouds tucked underneath 
The wings of crows, 
Cackling and cawing, 
Their blurry shadows contort into 
Monsters over the cornstalks. 
One by one, 
They dropped out of the sky
Wings bent onto the frozen ground. 
Feathers snapped, bones decayed
Bodies rot in heaps around me 
In an unburied mass grave of soared dreams. 
Dirt crusted fingernails,
Bare feet slipping over wood, wet and heavy,
Stumbling and shivering, tumbling 
Down into the frozen mud.  
Ice cuts into pale exposed skin, the wind 
Whispers, speaks, but she doesn’t understand.
Coldness seeps under her skin and burrows into
Her bones, and all that is left is 
Ice and dirt and loss and silence. 

Tree Nymph Unraveling

A tree is just a tree until it isn’t,
Until it is a girl 
With grief slipping off her
Like a second skin decomposed,
shredded away the dimness
Of the daylight. 
Pine needles stick out 
From underneath her skin,
Moss choked down her throat,
Crawling towards sunlight
She can never touch no matter
How far she reaches.

A tree is just a tree until it isn’t, 
Until it is a girl with 
Moonlight oozing through her veins,
Clumping up around the stars 
Jutting out of her heart.
A weak breeze trickles like blood
Out of her nose, out of her ears 
As the branches scratch at her eyes.
The forest is eating her alive, one
Heartbeat at a time. 

A tree is just a tree waiting until it isn’t,
Until a girl came along and  
Reimagined it into something else 
When her brothers told her 
To go play hide and seek. 
Another season, another year, another time, 
But no one remembers to dream under her bows 
And free the girl curled up inside. 
 

Anxiety

guilt-gnawing 
crawl-creeping 
down into a Summarization of piped-up thoughts
Spider-Skulking into my throat
ink Scrawling 
groping
Smattering my Spit with
laced-up ankle weights ballooning around my neck
Sloshing 
assimilating into a comfort of 
Self-hate as they marvel me 
Spider-Silking into my bones 
Sticky-Skeleton turning inside out 
Soft-Skin flaking and raw 
mauling
Strip-Shriveling in the dark
around the Shadow of my 
Sacrilege-clotted heart
 

Pumpkin Faces

a time for laughter
and freshly burnt cider,
apple bobbing—
biting, 
rich caramel to eat.

a time for hay bales,
corn mazes 
and carved out faces 
behind skeletal masks
while the actual skeletons dance
in their graves
as they suffocate
screaming to be let out 
shout, shout
ten feet 
underneath.

dulled orange and smoldering red, 
a time for death
running out the blessed,
haunting something sweet
children, please, 
no trespassing,
leaves drifting to and fro,
adults poisoned candy sweets,
he-he,
trick or treat,
and all the kitties drop dead

boo,
too late to hide,
the children locked in the morgue still alive
in their crypts screaming
oh, it’s halloween

Faded

You watch the woman weep 
Behind peeling strips of yellow
Wallpaper,
Curling, tearing, screaming—
Plastered in, 
Tightening, suffocating, drowning in the 
Splattered pigments bleached by her putrefying skin. 
Creaking, scratching, she tries fruitlessly 
To get out, to breathe.
You tuck your head with your 
Pillow, try to stifle her screams,
Pleading, begging, raging, seething with 
Unquenched revenge.
Her outline braces out of the walls
But is quickly swept back in,
Again and again. 
When everything dies back into silence,
You hesitantly walk over to the paper,
Reach out to touch the faded print.
Too late, recognition is all she needs. She
Free of her prison and writhes on the 
Floor. She whimpers, curls into a ball,
Chest heaving, breathing, free.
When you gently lift her face up 
To look into her eyes,
Your own face 
Stares back at you. 


Emma Deimling currently works as a writing tutor at the Ohio State University’s writing center. She has been published in numerous magazines, the most recent being in With Confetti. She lives in Columbus, Ohio. You can find her on Twitter @EmmaDeimling. 


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