“Ghost” Dark Poetry by Julie Allyn Johnson

on a gauzy october breeze
tire swing sways
rubber-garbed 
guillotine ballet

sliver of moon perforates 
moldy gray clouds

curl of smoke streams
from brick-broken stack
though the old house
remains dark, shadowless

amber-red lights recede: 
a waning 747

amid rural dereliction
hoot owl punctures 
the hushed
reclusive night

gusty squalls spiral
north, then northwest

a chill intrusion, 
the mesmerizing 
yowl & snap
a frigid perpetuity

Julie Allyn Johnson, a sawyer’s daughter from the American Midwest, loves walks in the woods, gravel-travel, photography, poetry and hiking in the Rocky Mountains.  Her current obsession is tackling the rough and tumble sport of quilting.  Her poetry appears in various journals including The Briar Cliff Review and Phantom Kangaroo. 


Two Dark Poems by Travis Black: “May My Sorrows Comfort Me in my Time of Need” and “The Sound of a Train in the Distance”

May My Sorrows Comfort Me In My Time Of Need

Gazing out from the pane
Iridescent sky unfold, 

Boundless and eternal

Cold slumber
Pitch sable chamber, 

Sorrow’s grip
Black, icy, delicate and soothing, 

Embrace 
The Sound Of A Train In The Distance 

Metallic and firm
Spectral vision of time from afar, 

Cold and icy 
Apparition haunting hills and mountains, 

Phantom song 
Lyrical composition - sorrow and death, 

Time, 

Relentlessly and brutally, 

Marches 

On 

Travis J. Black (He/Him) is a gay poet, writer and visual artist living in Metro-Detroit Michigan. His work has appeared in Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine and the 200th anniversary book Determined Hearts: A Frankenstein Anthology. His work often explores the mysterious, imaginative and darker aspects of life. You can follow him on his author’s webpage at https://www.amazon.com/author/travisjblack


“Teddy Bear” Dark Poetry by A.N. Rose

Teddy bear teddy bear
Cute as can be
Sitting on my dresser
Staring at me

Eyes of glass
Silently taunting
With a smile stitched shut
All the more haunting

A stare so frigid
As cold as the serrated blade
That drew fresh blood
Where we have laid

The only witness
To the end of your life
To the end of your pain
Your suffering and strife

I know I did the right thing...
You would've done it too,
Teddy Bear...
Wouldn't you?

Alex says about his background: “I am a freelance poet, living in the suburbs of Philadelphia with my beloved spouse and children. An enthusiast of everything thriller/horror related, when not writing, you can find me working in a nursing home. You can find my haiku on Instagram @hauntedhaiku82.”


Three Dark Poems by Peter Michael Bush: “Fear in the Eyes of the Crocodile”, “First…Serial…Rites”, and “Blood in the Sycamores”

Fear in the Eyes of the Crocodile
Give me the time, 
I will tell you of fear 
in the eyes of the crocodile- 
Black and lifeless, 
Summing up, stalking 
While frozen in terror I stand 
My son falls into 
Brackish water 
And takes, does the crocodile, my boy. 
 
My arms they flail, 
They beat about on 
Water’s cold dead face; 
Parting the deep, 
Revealing small children, 
And surrounding them, the crocodiles, 
Their bodies long 
Twisting slow in the ice.  
 
So, I carry these children 
Across, one dying step at a time; 
Yet, still I sense 
The crocodile’s black eyes 
On me damning, hunting, burning 
Me with this hate; 
Promising me that, 
Come the spring, he will find us again. 
My boy clings fast 
To my freezing body 
as we make our way across 
 
Evil waters 
To stare, time and again, 
Into hungry, black, lifeless eyes.
First…Serial…Rites
Blood, pitter patter, at right angles 
From his chin to the floor falling. 
Perfect circles. Perfect circles. 
Naked body splayed out before him- 
Science pig opened up, pinned down, 
Strewn about for present eyes to see. 
And the blood, the blood, squeezed like juice 
From some unnamable piece of flesh 
Gripped tightly between his fingers. 
The cherry popped, a virgin no more 
With no fear, life no longer a dream; 
But a fantasy to be revealed, to be 
Reveled in, basked in, rolled in, bathed in 
This metallic, coppery taste 
Spilled in a surreal train of pictures 
Later to endlessly be replayed: 
Uncomfortable fumbling, discomfort, 
Unknowing fear lending to panic; 
Pain and torture, torture and pain… 
Gurgling, disbelieving death; 
But the money shot: so like God: 
Power, control, reality’s master. 
An experience so vivid, 
The memories, the film - a promise 
That next time would be all the sweeter. 

Blood in the Sycamores
Between Noodle Dome and Stink Creek 
Out where our fathers hunted squirrels, 
Dead in the middle of Crater Wash 
Hard in the night, the moon waning 
Headlights blaze white over mud flats. 
 
Blood in the sycamores tonight 
Splatters wet, crying out innocent.      
Where we go, men were not meant to dwell. 
 
Hearts grow shocking cold in ugly work. 
Hands ill-prepared for wicked measures 
Blister on the rough skin of shovels 
Digging deep before the sun rises 
Dead in the middle of Crater Wash. 
                                     
Blood in the sycamores this morning 
Dried to black circles on fading leaves 
Made witness to passions of fallen men. 
 
Time rolls on in floods flowing over the Wash, 
Erases markers of makeshift graves 
Where ghosts reside now forgotten. 
Rumors once strong slowly drift away,  
Make secret what the stars have seen. 
 
Blood in the sycamores always 
Accusing from beyond the silent,  
Penitent men unforgiven. 
 
What we have done, what we have chosen 
Lies indelible in the record: 
A thorn gone festered in my mind 
For that night on Crater Wash. 
Between Noodle Dome and Stink Creek 
             
There is blood in the sycamores. 

Peter Michael Bush is a mental health therapist in rural South Georgia. He spends his free time writing, editing and pondering his own existential dread. He has been involved with powerlifting for over thirty years and has been writing for longer than that. Pete has completed three novels but considers himself a poet first as that is where all of these high jinks began. His work has been published in AlbatrossThe Poet’s PenDream Fantasy InternationalThe Florida Times Union, Independent InkMidwest Literary MagazineThe Dead Mule School of Southern Literature and Anatomy.   


“Act 1, Scene1” Dark Poetry by Prithvijeet Sinha

Sshhhhh.....
Put your ears on the wall.
There's a vile element in the concrete,
A phantasm of the moors.

This scullery is built atop
what once was a necropolis
and they buried masses of all hues six feet under.
Surely, the children have played here
and even spotted a finger bone or two
near the tree.

Listen,
stand here.
Somebody gargles,
hisses a curse,
then
'Deux Ex Machina'
or invokes a native sermon.

It thrills me
but grips like a vice
like how Master's eyes
lock with mine,
a tinge of forbidden desires
in the slow steps he takes
towards the kitchen door.

 ***
Sshhhhh....
Hear.
Nuns and sinners alike
speak various tongues.
Confessions afoot
with the decaying yellow haunting
of the afternoon.

The very light is stricken,
diseased,
separate from the entities of the night that lurk like
Lizzie and Bridget,
their secrets bitten under every lip.

The cat sits there,
breathing
and seeming as placid as Granny
on her rocking chair.

The phantasm from the moors
glows in the shadowed veil
of this room
and then whispers a dirty secret in my ears.
Stone cold
and frigid as the history of this town.
Did you hear it?

Previously published in Visual Verse. 


The writer’s name is Prithvijeet Sinha from Lucknow, India. He is a post graduate in MPhil from the University of Lucknow, having launched his prolific writing career by self publishing on the worldwide community Wattpad since 2015 and on his WordPress blog An Awadh Boy’s Panorama(https://anawadhboyspanorama.wordpress.com/)  

Besides that, his works have been published in several varied publications as Hudson Valley Writers Guild, Piker Press Online, anthology Pixie Dust and All Things Magical published by Authors Press( January, 2022), Cafe Dissensus, The Medley, Screen Queens, Confluence- South Asian Perspectives, Reader’s Digest, Borderless Journal, Lothlorien Poetry, Live Wire, Rhetorica Quarterly, Ekphrastic Review, Chamber Magazine, The Quiver Review, Dreich Magazine, Visual Verse and in the children’s anthology Nursery Rhymes and Children’s Poems From Around The World ( AuthorsPress, February 2021), among others. 

Three Darkly Humorous Poems by K.A. Williams: “Lunch at the Lake”, “Cal and Kay”, and “Night Caller”

Lunch at the Lake

Summer sun
Hungry rabid dogs
Running 
Running
So hot
So tired
A lake
Safety
Jump in quickly 
So cool
Dogs hate water
Splashing   
Oh, right
That’s cats

Cal and Kay

His name was Cal,
he lived by night.
If you met him,
you'd get a bite,
and wished you had
stayed in till light.

He met a girl,
her name was Kay,
but not like him,
she lived by day.
He sought a witch,
and had to pay.

The spell did work,
his fangs won't grow,
and his eyes lost
their bright red glow.
Cal looked for Kay,
she had to know.

Where did she go?
Cal had no clue.
When Cal found Kay
her new fangs grew,
and her eyes had
a bright red hue.

Night Caller

Mist entered the open window
and hung in the air,
transforming into a vampire
with a red-eyed stare.

Moonlight shone on the
woman lying in the bed.
The vampire glided forward
and bent over her head.

Startled, the woman screamed,
then looked at her clock.
"You're late," she scolded.
"And you forgot to knock."

“Cal and Kay” and “Night Caller” were originally published in The Creativity Magazine in 2020.


K. A. Williams lives in North Carolina. Her stories and poems have been published in many magazines including The Chamber, Black Petals, Corner Bar, Tigershark, Page & Spine, Altered Reality, View From Atlantis, The Sirens Call, and Trembling With Fear. Apart from writing, she enjoys rock music, and CYOA games.

“Voice in the Casket” Dark Poem by Bernadette Harris

Good night and hello, my wandering one,
Deep in the moors, and whence did you come?
Quaking and pale, cheeks kissed from the winter,
Frost in your hair, lips frozen and splintered.

Step over my ’thresh, blackened by mold,
Smothers the spot of whitening gold,
Tortuous star in celestial tower,
A shriveled heart, now ashen flower.

Surely you pity this human-like form,
This diet of red, this home among worms,
Prostrate the dust, alone with the slaughter,
Stretched upon bones of unfortunate daughters.

Why do you shrink, my sweet little meat?
My body has ceased, but eyes still may weep,
Take hold of my fingers, sink into the clay,
For shame, wary boy, you now turn away?

Come to this corpse, breathe into the tomb,
I came from the fire, torn straight from its womb,
Throat withers within, I gasp for the veins,
Along with the twilight, a stolen life wanes.

Bernadette’s work has appeared in a variety of literary magazines, including Ruminate, Braided Way, Introvert, Dear, and The Mindful Word. When she isn’t exploring her latest existential crises, she dabbles in writing children’s literature as well. She can be found at https://www.bernadetteharris.net/


Three Dark Poems by John Tustin: “The Crush of the Moon”, “Dead Candles”, “Respite”

The Crush of the Moon

Every night she appears
Above me
From her position of nowhere
To her position of somewhere
From behind the magic of a cloud
And I look despondently at her
From my perch at the window,
Drunk on the melodies of music
And embers of light in the darkness

And she looks down at me
With a bored but petulant rage,
Flicking me with a powerful finger
To put me in my place
And knock me down
Just as I am rising

Every night I corkscrew deeper
Into the sameness madness
Of a love that is wan,
That is not tender,
Crushed between the fingers of the moon
And floating further out
Each evening
Into the vast useless discomposure
Of a promiseless
Tomorrow
And the next

Holding on inside to the very things
That have cast me
Into the void

Dead Candles

The smell of matches lit in vain
For candles whose long wicks remain
But are irresolutely soaked in the tears
Of ghosts who never lived here
But in a place I was banned
That I imagine I would see in my dreams
If I still had dreams.

Respite

Even when I close my eyes
I cannot get much rest.
Still. Still.
After all these years,
living more than half a life
in fear and obscurity –
I will not, cannot relax.
The poetic term would be Respite.
No respite for me.

Perhaps it’s because I have words missing
as if chunks of memory deleted.
Faith. Bravery. Trust.
I search for those words
and when I find them
I break them open,
only to find their shells empty.
Standing on the beauty of a silvery sand,
held up by trillions of kernels,
tiny and abrasive individually
and all I can feel is alone,
exhausted, unable.
No respite for me.

When the water laps up to me,
I retreat.
No matter how good it feels,
I back away.
No respite for me.

After all these years
and all that’s happened
I’m still afraid to stand 
at the open window
unless the shades are drawn.
I close my eyes,
the lids shutting abrasively.
The breeze is there
but the shade absorbs it.
It doesn’t matter 
if it’s dark or light out there.
I’m naked and afraid,
my skin untouched.
No respite for me. 

John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many disparate literary journals since 2009. fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry contains links to his published poetry online.


Three Dark Poems by Callum McGee: “Black Oracles of Anfield Cemetery”, “Black Taxi”, and “Four Years of Hell”

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
South Catacomb, Anfield Cemetery, 12 September 2018, photo by Rodhullandemu, This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
Black Oracles of Anfield Cemetery
Raven’s cry in broad daylight
twiggy corpses holding black oracles, bright sparks in a sea of melted wax

Sanctuaries of hope 
dance with death, candles ooze pale essence, moss feasts decaying stones

Singular sparks 
returning to black, crooked branches, shriveled skeletons, inky feathers stain my suit

His thunderous voice
silent forever, a fiery passion dead silent, the red stadium’s heart forever still

Wretched symbols 
of the inevitable, Valkyries watch through beady eyes, sharp scythes snuff out lights

Life demands sacrifice
for eternal youth, rigor mortis seals an obsidian prophecy, ashes to ashes, oracles await

Reaper’s devoted 
disciples, messengers of a terrifying truth, tax collectors for precious time you owe 

Black banshees cry
for the damned, winged shadows flocking in the night, final debt paid
Black Taxi
Lifetime ago.
black taxi makes its stop.
Passengers await.

A small patch of gold.
Maple ripples on sweet bread.
Food packet feasts mine.

Bright blue brings out green.
Light in merciless sea.
Toasty bungalows.

Bounties of wisdom. 
Candles melt away at night. 
The black taxi makes its rounds.

Traceless wheels screech. 
White homes fade, life source leaves now.
Lone bungalows weep. 

A new sun arrives.
Shadow tires gone; mark left.
Passengers aboard destination unknown. 
Four Years of Hell
I am charred black
soul bitter. Demons in all shapes fractured my mind
contaminating my soul. My pure heart shriveled sweet and sour.

Like the Messiah
kindness was rewarded with cruelty. A crown of thorns
piercing my brain. Judas’s disciples blend in menacing groups.

My ears bleed
from the lies of the foul tonged. Satan’s legacy flourishes here
lies, serpents, and rumours. Power hungry vultures linger around every corner.

The foul stench of evil
contaminates my nostrils. The sheep huddle together
to look powerful. Guardians turn a blind eye to the foulest creatures.

The light of a soul
fades like the sun in this cold, dark place. Surrounded by monsters
and demons, masking as human beings. They infect the weak with their childhood sickness.

The Prey perish
as the Predators pounce. Kindness is rewarded with cruelty here,
the defenceless punished and banished. Four years is a torture chamber here.

Hope of many
is forever trapped here. Long gone, long perished even after the four years ended.
I never believed in Hell, but a place as evil as this, only proves such a place exists.

Callum McGee is a passionate BA creative writing student at Edge Hill University. His short horror story has been published on the official EHU magazine/newspaper The Quack’s blog. Callum is working on a debut fiction novel based on many Native American tribal cultures and beliefs. However, he also writes poetry tackling societal issues such as pollution, bullying, and inequality. Callum prefers writing from 1st personal point of view across his writing genres. However, he can write in 3rd or 2nd person points of view to expand his writing craft. 


Three Poems by Joseph Farina: “fever planes”, “simulacrum”, and “what we leave behind”

fever planes
heat and sweat salted grit on my neck
the cocktail ridge of loose blown sand
black feathers glean high on black mare's head
eyes wide nostrils open in the hot dust
the single caw of a raven above
all somehow in this room in hours
unknown, between the fever and the heart
that fears a landscape seen only in photographs
but owned by time blood and tears
does it call me or am I the caller
voices in two tongues
the lamentation of my birth voice
and its evolvement to some shattered hybrid
warning of raven and  lizard whispers
a place of measurement and balance
do I answer or  have I been already charged
simulacrum
coyotes howl
at the full wolf moon rising
loose dogs prick their ears
the silence of the cold night air
descends on those who
are half in their beds
waiting for mercy
like a lullaby to blanket them

outside the moon rises higher
cold coyote eyes
follow it to its culmination
knowing there is no mercy in its light
to either men or pack
what we leave behind
I have known all the days
their low and high appointments
the mornings, evenings and afternoons
each sunrise's different colour
each sunset's imitations
measured my time by the sun's chronometer
the lengthening and shortening of shadows
the phases of the moon
from wolf to harvest to cold
the wind's voice in each season
the telling scent of autumn
the frigid kiss of winter
my greatest moments
like shooting stars
flash and disappear
leaving nothing
not even a scar
to say that this was me

Joseph A Farina is a retired lawyer in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. An internationaly award winning poet. Several of his poems have been published in  Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine,The Chambers Magazine, Ascent ,Subterranean  Blue  and in   The Tower Poetry Magazine, Inscribed, The Windsor Review, Boxcar Poetry Revue , and appears in many anthologies including:  Sweet Lemons: Writings with a Sicilian Accent,  Canadian Italians at Table,  Witness  from Serengeti Press and Tamaracks: Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century . He has had poems published in the U.S. magazines   Mobius, Pyramid Arts, Arabesques, Fiele-Festa, Philedelphia Poets and   Memoir (and) . He has had two books of poetry published— The Cancer Chronicles   and   The Ghosts of Water Street.


“The Auctioneer’s Daughter” Dark Poetry by Olga Alexandra

amidst hide-covered bones she rides him around the smell of death
greasy lips frozen with inexplicable mirth
she rides
little legs pasted against foul, matted withers 
her beast tripping hooves, like a clown ready for market

she moves him on with chubby hands clenched at raw twine
looped carelessly around and through a gaping mouth and frightened eyes
rolling, lurching with her astride
pounding thin-skinned flanks
rocking an angry child
rubbing 
a hobby horse parading
caught in her own
the knacker’s thrill 
around and around rocking the dying pony

and she never asks where he went

HUMAHNAH HUMAHNAH
daddy’s singing the auctioneer’s song

in stained concrete 
through rat-maze wood and beyond
sawdust clumped with blood
echoing outside where cowboys stand
the girl now a woman 
watches worn animals with curtained eyes

her rough hands mounting 
once again the auctioneer sings “she’s on” 

now squatting in dirt
she meets the gaze of another in pain
a beast, shifting crippled weight broken-
it waits
she hides
no longer creatures of interest 
repulsed freaks
they cannot speak and their bodies rattle numb

daddy’s gone 
and the knackers don’t bid

Olga Alexandra lives in the steamy South and writes horror and crime fiction. She has stories forthcoming in Shotgun Honey and Amazon Kindle Vella. For more info please visit http://www.linkt.ree/olgaalexandra.


Two Dark Poems by David Arroyo

At the Dinner Table–Dusk

“To wake , and hear a cock
out of the distance crying”
— Dawn, Philip Larkin 

To eat and hear a scream.
To rise and peer through a foggy window
To lose and loose the self to a waking dream 
and feel behind you the Shadowman grow.
How normal it is 
for muscles to freeze and eyes choke on the mind’s conspiracy.

Witness

The mind let unwind with a whip
A Cat-Of-Nine made of neurons 
Flailed at grey matter with barbed tips. 
Made him stiff, slobbering like a moron.  

In these hallucinations he could not escape
though he knew the machines weren’t real 
Knowing is not enough when grinding pain
tenderizes and you’re the entree, grilled veal. 

Whatever gnawed at his inner thigh
percolated through his skin 
always at his periphery, out of sight
not mind, his sanity worn thin. 

His wife, paralyzed, drooling, stared wide-eyed,
bed bound, binging his dream, with each bite she died.

David Arroyo is a nerd and ex-catholic. His Dungeons & Dragons alignment is Neutral Good.  He holds an MA in English from Florida State University and a MFA in Creative Writing from Stonecoast. He’s published poetry in Club Plum,  Stirring, Silver Blade, Burning Word, and Abyss & Apex, and most recently in Coffin Bell and Nocturne. His Twitter handle is StarSmashrX.


“Memories of You” Dark Poetry by Gavin Turner

You are a wallet photo, unseen,
 Dusty atoms of carbon,
Clinging to the plastic strand of a hand brush,
Returned to its place after all was undone
beneath the sinks

You remained, an oil print on my birthday glass,
Whose pleasing shape you drank from,
Had I cleansed myself of you, almost,
A fingertip would reveal itself weeks later,
Uniquely yours, apparently

The dining room rug rolled up, but
Only at the corner, from slipping feet
Retained a trace of flawless skin,
A single hair strayed there too,
The morning trickle of the light made it less visible,
Refusing to be extinguished

I discovered these memories of you,
an infinite desiccation, evidentially
To always be there, with our treasured last words
an indelible truth, typed in hard print,
In the forensic report

Gavin Turner is a writer of dark fiction and poetry. Some of his work is published  via his website gtpoems.wordpress.com


Five Dark Poems by Jack Harvey

Moon, Shine On

It's one of those nights
when the moon slips free
of the clouds;
one of those nights
when the wind blows free,
unleashed from the upstarting
contours of the land,
sweeping, rushing across
the wastes of
the immortal boundless sea,
finally arriving 
aimless and energetic 
at some newfound destination.

Moonlight shines
across the long bays,
in which great brother waves
press on
under the moon's bright face,
bright as death's scythe,
press on roaring
until they come to rest,
flat and quiet,
on the moonlit shore.

Heroes young and old
held vigil
on nights like these;
memories of the god-feasts,
the dark woods, the sacred tree
dim and nearly gone now.

In those days witches
could doctor the dark,
pull down the moon
if they had to;
fearful Nicias,
famed Athenian
sent to war in Sicily
didn't need a moon
sunk to earth,
heeded instead
the omen of
a technicolor moon,
dimming to naught;
waited, waited, 
too long hesitating, then
at the wrong time retreating,
led his army to its doom.

But gracious fellow-travelers,
lovers of the glory that was,
these days 
it's the self-same moon,
stripped of portents,
floats over Cuba,
floating over Miami, too,
over a moon-startled girl
feeling her boy
bent over her,
passionate in her,
starting his 
rhapsody of movement.

Overhead, in the heavens,
embarrassed constellations
look off in all directions,
seeing all, and not wanting to see,
goosed, tormented, 
by an expanding universe
sending them on their way
and down below,
by the light of
the silent indifferent moon
a boy and a girl
coming together
in a paratactical now,
in a perfection of now
and no wild Nicias moon
turning red, blue and sallow
to spoil the moment
with foreboding,
to slow or speed
the whole shebang
from measured order 
to some desperate fatal mistake. 

A.U.C.

There is that in God
which is not gaud
                           feeding the chickens
Honorius muttered in Latin,
not brooking a report
that Rome
                    had
how you say?
                            had been
like a chicken
                            its neck wrung.

Jesus, the beautiful faces,
Vestals,
the villas where Sallust
the beautiful noble stones
the shithouses, aqueducts, roads
          ROME DEAD?
but she fed the world 
      a long time
                          fed
a line of law
and reason

Respect:
Lars Porsenna
and the bloody emperors
hairy Vandals
                      Alaric alert
Neal
All honor
her hills, her people,
her purple
covered the steppes,
commanded 
the western isles.

In the ruins of Rome,
in Illyria, in Britain,
bitter winter brings down
heaven’s wrath;
hailstones spatter 
like pennies,
clattering on bronze
and marble alike.

We will not see Hadrian
again rebuilding the walls.

Dulce Domum

You can’t hide your hideway
when beggars come calling;
every haven has its day,
every port and refuge;
the cold tomorrows
come out of the distance
like icebergs,
unstable as emperors, 
demanding as children

and food for thought 
feeds no one.
Your secret place, your kingly manse?
Don’t board up all the doors,
your earthly paradise 
has a few snakes inside

and minstrels and other rabble
wait outside
to knock down all.

You alone unhidden
unbidden stand
prominent as a sequoia,
Simon of the stele.
Revelation is God’s alone;
hidden in the deep,
his submarine love
discovers all secret places;
you are naked as 
a jaybird in his sight.

So cast it all away,
armed in your own flesh
go voyaging.
Surrender is a place
impregnable and portable
as heaven. 

Elba

Napoleon,
shake your iron off;
invincible, able
on Elba
you were mourning
ere you saw
the glory of the days
coming and the days
twisted up, by-
gone.

Dearth

Blonde she was
on the boulevard,
in moonlight,
in crescent of
moon-grin;
golden hairs
white as Lear’s
under moonlight;
the old power
coming easy as
Paris faring
through the
Dardanelles. 

The moon, flat
as a cookie,
sails higher;
wreaths of smoke
lie fallow in space.

But blonde on a
bicycle goes fast
and quiet;
the ripple of her
passing disturbs 
all of us,
wandering on
the foreshore
of no adventure.

Home, Palinurus;
turn the rudder
and home.
No blondes heave to
in the moonlight;
your bed, empty
and wide
as a car,
awaits you.


A.U.C  was published 14 years ago in Poetry Bay, Dulce Domum in 2017 in Pif Magazine, Elba several years ago in Zombie Logic Review, and Dearth in Duane’s Poetree. Moon has never been published.


Jack D. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in Scrivener, The Chamber Magazine, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Typishly Literary Magazine, The Antioch Review, The Piedmont Poetry Journal and elsewhere. The author has been a Pushcart nominee and over the years has been published in a few anthologies.


Three Dark Poems by Toshihisa Nikaido

Sticks Beneath the Trees

As I gather the sticks beneath the trees
          A gust of wind causes the branches to sway
          Colder than a midwinter’s storm
Finding shelter under the trunks
 
         A gust of wind causes the branches to sway
I’ve found warmth where I may rest
Finding shelter under the trunks
         Allowing me to finally say goodnight
 
I’ve found warmth where I may rest
          Colder than a midwinter’s storm
          Allowing me to finally say goodnight
As I gather the sticks beneath the trees

The Bard

A strike of my shovel reveals a crypt,
          Through which awaits a new conflict.
                   The grounds below I cannot predict,
                             Even when I’ve become well equipped.
                                       Laws down here have left me bound;
                                                  To these deathly tunes, I am constrict.

Dracula’s Reflection

When he looks into the mirror,
          His expression falls unfamiliar;
A frown breaks through his charisma,
          Puzzled evermore by this enigma.
 
Now, whom does he see here,
          When he looks into the mirror?
He cannot find his face so grim,
          Only what was left behind him.
 
His heart is filled with devotion,
          And yet each time he sees no one,
When he looks into the mirror;
          Still wishing he could be near her.
 
Once seeing from the tower of an aristocrat,
          Now fallen into darkness and blind as a bat;
Yet the truth could not be clearer,
          When he looks into the mirror.



Toshihisa Nikaido has worked on popular video game series such as Resident Evil, Pokémon, and The Legend of Zelda. Toshihisa more recently joined Japan’s space exploration agency for a new challenge while using various forms of writing as a creative outlet and has since been published in several literary journals.


Three Dark Poems by Thomas White

Vampires in Love

Our love glitters inside us:
veins strung with lights

like secret Yule trees
while we rage for blood:

the hunger of Vampire bats,
living in the delicious heart

of Halloween still with the
Christmas spirit of giving,

offering our necks, mouths, and
bodies to each other as presents
and tricks or treats, dressed
up in the kinky costumes of  

our passions that frighten
little children who come

to our door asking for the gifts
of candy behind love’s scary masks.

Clowns Showing Teeth

All the malls have certainly changed,
full of rubbish, screaming children,
and sinister clowns, baring their teeth 
between pale red lips, watching me, mockingly,
intently, like pinkly-bewigged gangs at twilight
loitering with murderous intent.

Obviously clowns are not what they
used to be: death mask make-up
slathered on like sour pie cream,
no craft, no art, not much color,
all sweating something foul
like spoiled, greasy butter.

The circus is over,
the masks are off, 
but the face of Bozo still grins
into his dressing room mirror
while coldly loading his revolver.

The Faltering Circus

Aged feet shuffling
in front of each other
without (their children
hope) falling: wobbly
as if on a tightrope,
poised on knotty
varicose veins,
hovering above
the breathlessly
erect crowd
where every
spectator in 
this faltering 
circus is finally
a ghostly performer.

Thomas White has a triple identity: speculative fiction writer, poet, and essayist. His poems, fiction, and essays have appeared in online and print literary journals and magazines in Australia, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. He is also a Wiley-Blackwell Journal author who has contributed essays to various nonliterary journals on topics ranging from atheism, the meaning of Evil, Elon Musk, Plato, The Matrix, and reality as a computer simulation. The Encyclopedia Britannica selected one of his previously published essays on Hannah Arendt, Adolph Eichmann, and the “Banality of Evil” for inclusion on its website, Britannica.com.

In addition, he has presented three of his essays to the West Chester University Poetry Conference (West Chester, Pennsylvania), as well as read his poetry on Australian radio. His poetry collection Ghostly Pornographers, published by Weasel Press/Sinister Stoat Press, is available on Kindle and through the publisher’s website.


“The Death Walk Trilogy” Three Dark Poems by Stephen Jarrell Williams

Last of the Sun

Last of the sun highlighting the clarity of day
Now the shadows spawn and spread
 
Quiet
Almost unseen
 
She walks in a different mood
Her dress falling to the floor like a quilt of flowers
 
I can’t help myself but watch
Hypnotized
 
The whole house dark but lit with her glow
The outside world reduced to strangers
 
The slow dance of her night fulfilling
Capturing my haunted soul.

The Gulf

There is no sleep when she is beside you
The bed cradles her like a pearl
 
You stare as she sleeps
Her dreams not yours
 
You can still taste her sweetness
For she is your drug
 
You would steal for her
Kill for her
 
But she would not want you to
 
And the night takes her out to the sea
Where she walks on water
 
And you cannot follow.

Dark Man

There is some sickness keeping me from you
I’ve always had it since birth
 
You have been healed by your beliefs
I question everything
 
Trusting nothing
Or myself
 
I dwell in my own darkness
My own doings
 
Quick now
Run away from me
 
Before the wind blows through your hair
Before the sun uplifts your face
Casting me down
To your feet
Where I belong
Crawling through the sand like a snake
 
But somehow I sense
You will take me in
Giving me a spot of light.

Stephen Jarrell Williams loves to write poetry and draw unusual works of art.  He can be found on Twitter @papapoet.


Four Dark Poems by Donna Dallas

The Reunion

I
Girl 
I did not want you 
to wrap cell around cell 
vein loop through artery 
muscle form and flex 
to stretch my stomach out 
I thought there was a monster
inside me 
and there was…

I carried your heavy load 
for over twenty years
finally said fuck it 
I’m done with your addictions 
your bloated belligerence from birth 

I closed the door 
at that moment felt only freedom
not realizing this umbilical cord 
still fresh and slick 
with its own aliveness
later dread
then decay 
as the door shut for good…or so I thought
at the end I wrapped myself in that damn cord 
cuddled with it

II
Mother
had I known in my dumbass youth
you needed to seek your true calling
and if I could have cared for and fed myself
it would have worked out between us 

Instead I tried to hide
in my cell sac
watch you wild with pain
you’d hear me coo and giggle
then realize I needed attending

I sought only the sweetness
of what I believed 
the band-aid to my bruises
if you knew I was falling 
you waited for my collapse
into your release

Here we meet at the gates 
do not know one another at all really
yet I smell the stench of my cord
entwined in your fingers

Day Breaker

In a capsule I ride the earth
seek star-borns and sayers 
to heel me
I fold into a bowl
of witchery 
wait as the forest beckons
the leaves curl into my fingers
fall off as I point blame
I’ve no dolls left to burn
in my cauldron of wonder 
mixed with bourbon
I spit out fire
speak in tongues

If they understood
my piercing blister
that rots under
my many hearts……
I could roll myself under this pot
hide forever with my bottle
yet I still seek the sunny
drip that IV’s
me into this shell I live under

Post Re-Boot

This body has hardened into a pit 
left over from rotted fruit the meat of it 

disintegrated and not to get too cliché 
I keep replanting – restarting – refreshing – re-re-re

regrowth – rebloom I can re myself into oblivion
tear at my eyes and form a hollow so deep it comes out

the other side around and around I want this yes
I do – to reboot but I can’t get footed into a place it all

feels so narrow I’m hanging over with so much of me 
exposed I’m a target for hairy torn vultures to pick at

they tend to loosen my parts send pieces of me here
and there I can re-connect them yet it’s always difficult

to reconfigure myself but I’m not re-ing anymore
one last re-roll to my end

Sky Ticket

Shy moon
baby moon
the weakest root in the sky
that just won’t take 
to the night soil
turn my back
it’s grown into a thick vine

Full-face moon
touch my sleeve
mesmerized
golden bowl of glow
your vine creeps around
the tree trunk
eases up the branch
secures its front-seat view
to our night rhapsody

Ms. Dallas notes: “I studied Creative Writing and Philosophy at NYU’s Gallatin School and was lucky enough to study under William Packard, founder and editor of the New York Quarterly.  Lately, I am found in Horror Sleaze Trash, Beatnik Cowboy and The Opiate among many other publications. I recently published my first novel, Death Sisters, with Alien Buddha Press. My first chapbook, Smoke & Mirrors, will launch this fall with New York Quarterly. I currently serve on the editorial team for Red Fez and New York Quarterly.”


Three Dark Poems Written and Translated from the Russian by Ivan de Monbrison

Время - это круг. 
Мы в центре, марионетки из плоти.
Ваша мысль как воздуху, 
ваш череп полон облаков.
Вчера я нарисовал твой мозг зеленым, 
а сегодня он снова красный.
Я окунаю в нее ручку 
и пишу красными чернилами слова, 
которые не имеют смысла.


Time is a circle. 
We’re in the center, puppets of flesh.
Your thoughts are  like air, your skull is full of clouds.
Yesterday I painted your brain in green, and today it’s red again.
I dip my pen into it 
and write with red ink 
words which don’t make any sense.
Открытый угол забвения.
Тишина в кармане.
Тень скользит по стене и льется в бокал, как черное вино.
Я пью этот бокал.
Тень входит в меня как мысль.
Завтра я пойду идти всю ночь, 
чтобы увидеть, как звезды одна за другой 
падают в море и медленно тонут.


An open corner of oblivion.
Silence in your pocket.
The shadow slides along the wall 
and pours into a glass like black wine.
I drink this glass.
A shadow goes inside me like a thought.
Tomorrow I will go all night to see the stars 
fall one by one into the sea and slowly sink.
Небо - зеркало.
Кто-то говорит.
Это не ты.
Ваша открытая рука пуста. 
Внутри есть дыра, из которой вылезают мухи.
Ваш мозг потный, 
он много работает.
Он похоже на мясо, которое вам дают на обед.
 


The sky is a mirror.
Someone speaks. 
That’s not you.
Your open hand is empty.
There is a hole inside, from which flies crawl out.
Your brain is sweaty
It works a lot.
It looks like the meat that you get for your lunch.

Ivan de Monbrison is a poet, novelist and artist born in 1969 in Paris. He has studied oriental languages in Paris, and then worked for the Picasso Museum, before dedicating himself to his own creativity. He has been published in literary magazines globally. His last poetry book in English and Russian без лица / Faceless has just been released in Canada. He does not believe that his art is of any real significance. He does it as some kind of a tribal ritual. He is fully aware that vanity is one of the worse enemy of most poets and artists, and tries to stay away from it as much as possible. 

https://sites.google.com/view/ivan-de-monbrison/home


Three Dark Poems by L. Meredith Chandler

Shatter at Sand Pond

That strange night, the last Sunday of September
Halloween in the cool air, the candle burning in the freshly carved pumpkin
the campfire wild with wood
while the night animals journeyed by on their paths behind the trees.

How dare you choose the peace of this place
move here, move in, move us--
only to shatter that peace and scatter our thoughts
hold them captive, wondering why, over and over
involuntarily while washing the dishes 
walking the dog, trying to work
unable to think of anything else but you.

What about the refrigerator full of food, the calendar full of things to do?
You must have had some hope somewhere.
The early morning walks to the pond, stopping in to chat about how lovely it is here
how happy you are here.
You’re a liar, or a coward
or both, or neither
and we’ll never know.

How dare you cast your shade across my peace, where I too
chose this place--moved here and moved in, arms open to the magic of the Maine woods--
and I am not forgetting the pain you must have been feeling, the deep despair
the complete absence of hope for you to neatly pack up and label the boxes of your life
what would go to who, write a detailed note of instruction, and obligatory vague apology
and then do that deed, no mistakes this time
inexplicably altering the lives of us all.

Shatter at Sand Pond on a Sunday night in September
the glass that fell and scattered its shards at the moment your light closed out up the hill
your shadow passing through and across us all, until we find our individual ways out from under
to take back our peace and this place from the darkness that won
Until I ask Who were you? Until I say How dare you??
Until I yell Fuck you! 
Until I cry I’m so sorry.

Until I let go of ever understanding anything
and just hope, with all my heart
that the friend I’ll never know 
is finally where you wanted to go.

The Root Cellar

Deep in the dirt are the veins of my family tree
winding their way through the cool of the earth--
reaching long for the occupied shore
traveling north to seed the rich New England soil.

My eventual grandfather, the first step of his buckled boot
onto the land his sons would steal--
the sick of the journey still piercing his nostrils
and the thirst for drink, deep in his dry throat.
 
So small on that big sea he came, carried forward 
upon the waves sloshing across the bow--
to infect this new world with rule and riches, and scabs 
of his own rejection to sire the birth of the new oppressors.
  
Tied tight in the tangle of these inherited roots
are the blessing and the curse--
as acrid as the fermented cider beneath the stair
and as serious as the potatoes sitting silent in their bin.
 
I breathe deep against the pull and pain
with the strain across my small back--
carrying the burden of the beast in my blood
and my heart too heavy on my pounding head.
 
The three oldest professions have helped my people survive:
the farmers, the carpenters and the courtesan--
working the rolling fields, measuring and building their barns
reciting verse to her suitors in the city.
 
Sweet Dory Doyen still took the helm from the arrogance
of the owners and the privilege of their wealth--
pleasuring them with words and wit and more
until The Murder of Helen Jewett took her tongue.
 
Her truth washes high upon my shore 
and into my seaside home--
underneath the door and down the worn wooden stairs
to the hard cool floor of the root cellar.
 
Her blood seeps dark into the dirt, carrying her young death 
into my veins while I lay quiet with her--
delivering these words
like babies.

Autopsy of a Mistake

The sound of sharpening still in my ear,
with this scalpel I will cut
as deeply, as precisely as necessary to find the cause--
the root of this weed,
this vine that grew quickly between us, without warning
to strangle us from within
squeezing the life suddenly from our future.
  
The point of my scalpel breaks the skin
as I cut carefully into my memory
of that Saturday night conversation,
those words that sped our pulse into slowing
into the retreat and full stop of the ache, the anger--
our airways now constricted
with this obstacle lodged tight to block our voice.
  
The blood gently seeps to either side of the slice
as I reveal the invasive vine that has spread alongside the veins
from its entry point of our mouths and down our throats
winding its way into Wednesday, having continued its squeeze and shaped itself
into the whip that would ultimately lash us with words--
both of us crying, Stop! Please no more
both oppressed, mistaking whose hand was holding the whip.
 
Carefully and with skill I extract the weed from the body
strangely extricated with ease, all in one piece, intact.
The blood fills the cavity it created, alleviating the pressure
caused by this foreign body, this destructive force that has invaded the wrong host.
Gently I sew the incision with neat black stitches to ensure closure,
protection against other contaminants, further damage--
while the whip, long since dusted for prints, returned results inconclusive.

My final determination: the source of truth is not contained in these remains
as I pull the sheet up over the still being, this innocent casualty
at rest perhaps but not at peace, with answers still outstanding
but at least, its integrity now restored.
The origin of the weed, the exact path of its seed like many invasive species, impossible to track--
prevention seems the only defense against its spread
while the more persistent seed of hope germinates on the horizon.

L. Meredith Chandler is a native New Englander who grew up in Maine and now splits her time between the Maine woods and the Massachusetts coast. She holds a BA in English from Adelphi University and an MA in English from the University of Rhode Island. L. Meredith has been writing poems since age 10, with themes ranging on the darker side of life around family roots to addiction to the complexities of freedom and human emotion. Her first chapbook, The Human Heart and Other Chambers, will be completed this autumn.


Two Dark Poems by Serena Jayne: “Heart Heavy” & “Forever Haunt”

Forever Haunt

my body welcomes
your unholy spirit 
remodel my heart
into a tiny house of horror

explore the library
erected in my spine
vertebrate shelves
overflow with grief

tour the temple 
in my cranium
dedicated to you
my dark deity 

hear my desperate prayers
witness blood sacrifices
breathe the hope 
amongst incense smoke

visit the panic room
that toxic chamber in my gut
where caustic chemicals
dissolve my resolve to quit you

despite the damage
fractured foundation
cholesterol-clogged pipes
wonky wiring

this house of flesh
awaits your haunting
dare to make me
your forever home

Heart Heavy

unbalanced scales make
my empty chest cavity ache
on one side a feather floats
the other holds my too-heavy heart

the organ’s chambers
festering with regret
carry a history of hurt
both given and received

Ammit’s leathery lips shine
with devourer demon drool
yet the monstrous chimera
sends my heart skittering 

any hope that the rejection
means a happy ever afterlife
vanishes as the organ tumbles 
into the lake of fire’s lava

before I can salvage the cinders
my essence becomes unmade
finally lighter than a feather
but too late to pass the test

Born under the sun sign of Leo, Serena Jayne is naturally a cat person. Her short fiction has appeared in the ArcanistSpace and Time MagazineUnnerving Magazine, and other publications. She tweets @SJ_Writer.


Two Dark Poems by Brianna Malotke: “I’m Still Here” and “Hug Your Mother”

I’m Still Here

When the violent wind howls
And the shutters slam against
The tightly locked windows
- who do you call out to?
 
When the lights flicker
And the floorboards creak
With every step, or just old age
- why do you close your eyes?
 
When the temperature drops
And the air seems frigid,
Even though the fire is roaring
- who do you pray to?
 
When the shadows dance
And shift about so quickly
Your eyes second guessing
- why do you whisper my name?

Hug Your Mother

When I was little and upset
My mother would always say
To not forget to hug her for
A mother’s love cured everything.

And so, over the years
Even if I didn’t need one
I often hugged my mother.

I hugged her – no matter what – 
Through good times and bad
Our family always did seem happy
From the outside looking in.

And so, over the years
I always hugged my mother
Up until the day we buried her.

A mother’s love cured everything
Echoed faintly in my mind
As the doctor explained the diagnosis
And gave me a set of days left.

And so that night I dug her up
And made sure to hug her lovingly,
For a mother’s love cures everything.

Brianna Malotke’s most recent work can be found online at The Crypt, Witch House Amateur Magazine, and Dark Entries Journal. She has poems in the anthologies BeneathCosmosThe Deep, and Beautiful Tragedies 2. Looking ahead to 2022, she has two poems in the Women in Horror Poetry Showcase, “Under Her Skin,” published by Black Spot Books. 

My website: https://brimalotke.wixsite.com/malotkewrites


Three Dark Poems by John Tustin

Before Another Midnight of Mindless Work

Standing before the mirror
Before another midnight of mindless work
For meager pay
I find my legs pasty and ridiculous
In my boxers;
My hair a mess,
My body rumpled,
This unshaven face a patchwork of middle aged lumps
And crags.
Red eyed, I creak and groan as I put on my pants,
Sipping another cup of coffee,
Still cold to my bones.
I have to get used to being alone again
And finding that my ugliness is endearing
To no one,
Certainly not me and
Not even you
Anymore.

I Think about Death All the Time

I think about death all the time:
Yours, mine, hers, his,
Ours.
When I am at work
Or at the supermarket
Or sitting and drinking
As I listen to country, folk and rock n roll
Music
I fill in the spaces of my thoughts
Imagining my death
And yours
And theirs.
The room grows dark
And my heart grows dark
And I think about my impending death
And fill with curiosity.
When I die
Will you honor me, will you cry for me?
Will you still deny me like Peter denied Jesus,
Like a child unwilling to repent?
As the years pass after I am gone, will you be washing dishes
And looking out the window,
Seeing the clouds passing over the tempestuous bay
Before a summer storm,
Think of me suddenly and shudder with loss?
Will you even remember me?
When I die and then you die
Will we meet in the valley 
Under a crescent moon
And finally hold hands as we make a vow
Or will my energy just wallow aimlessly
With the ashes of my spent useless body?

I think of everyone and I think of their deaths:
Anne Sexton breathing in poison, rowing away from God.
Adams and Jefferson holding hands and dying together
And hundreds of miles apart.
The death of Christ
In agony on the cross.
The death of my mother
And the death of your mother.
The death of Gram Parsons and Gene Clark,
Drunk no more, singing no more.
The death of Augustine of Hippo
Who said “Wipe your tears and do not cry,
If you love me.

Death is nothing.”

Life is everything.
 

We, the Many

We, the many
Who will not live beyond decay,
Who memorize the words of others,
Who worry about our oil changes,
Who live with little or no love,
Who scribble paeans and suicide notes
All over the bathrooms of our madhouses
While the days become nights become days
As quickly as the flicking of a switch;

We salute you –
You, the few
Who have made the lives of us 
Who will not live beyond decay,
Somewhat bearable
With your words and your deeds
That will not, cannot,
Shall not rot.

John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many disparate literary journals since 2009. fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry contains links to his published poetry online.


“Whack-a-Mole” Dark Poetry by Jake Sheff

Australian Lungfish. Photo by Vassil
Whereupon the great tradition found itself,
Floundering in muck, the flagellating sea foam
And ragged, unmerciful depravity: a lungfish;
The lurid miscreant with the abandon of
A top-heavy star, or photon. It crawls, or maybe
Distills a warrantless idea straight from the cosmos
Borne, it’s rumored, of necessity for capital. 
The gasps for breaths are inimical and costly, 
But the slime-assuaging wind, forsworn 
And shapely, congeals around the bubbly, 
Piscine no-name. For so many true-believers,
A dawn is clapping out of latency, something like
Garages open to the day without people. There is,
To the lobular fins, a tender hedonism and upright
Sense of atavistic colors, like bloodless red and
Red-less rage; benumbing synesthesia worth
The fall from ease and scrumptious days without
Quizzes, teaching lessons to the echoes. Curling
Around the moment, the lungfish harps
A ditty taking shots at deities abstaining once
Again. The greenery beyond the banks are
Preening for the nascent forms rebellion strikes
At unexpected times and places, always free
But doomed to catching on. And what strange
Bedfellows the lungfish makes with structure,
Laid out on sand like a blueprint for amassing;
But still, the quiet touch of harsher tones
Summoning themselves for the occasion is
Imperceptibly housed somewhere the lungfish
Is not privy to, where destiny is daylight. Gone
Are the nights where nomenclature’s blue
Pariah wipes the slate as clean as shuttles;
The lungfish absorbs its newest memories into
Absolute refinement, takes a stuttering stipulation
Toward the avant-garde unknown to fate, until
A club is brought, by differing opinion, to its head 
That cracks, opposable as hominoid deliverance. 

Jake Sheff is a pediatrician and veteran of the US Air Force. He’s married with a daughter and six pets. Poems and short stories of Jake’s have been published widely. Some have even been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology and the Pushcart Prize. His chapbook is “Looting Versailles” (Alabaster Leaves Publishing). A full-length collection of formal poetry, “A Kiss to Betray the Universe,” is available from White Violet Press.


Two Dark Poems by Melody Wang: “Little Room” & “An Inopportune Time For”

Little Room

the stillness in the air
only seems to amplify these
fading dreams accumulated
 
like dead flower petals
on the windowsill that no one 
bothers to dust anymore
 
you wilt in this room of whitewash
and shadows, your face ashen — 
a faded ragdoll from a bygone era
 
drifts of dandelion tufts float up
from the garden below, as if
suspended in mid-thought
 
then snatched away, blown off 
course through cruel passages 
and forgotten

An inopportune time for

another heaping portion of critique   

         doled out on a Thursday morning devoid of any 
         filament of warmth — boss-man dons his fedora, 
         leaves as tiny figure makes final trek up a fire escape   
 
rain-slicked potholed pavements below that still carry

         transgressions, long-forgotten, as sleepy
        onlookers crane rubber necks and bulge  
        eager eyes so they don’t miss a second
 
tiny figure now atop a cold roof who paces:  

         an agitated bird in the winds of fleeting
         youth. A collective breath is held as if it could
         somehow prevent a stain that would soon be forgotten
 
the grey silence as I tear my eyes from the morning paper’s

        tragedy, my mind filling in gaps in a stranger’s life story
        to avoid my own. At times I think I deserve this absence.
        The cruel way nature takes away what it deems unviable —
 
grieving what never was

Melody Wang currently resides in sunny Southern California with her dear husband and wishes it were autumn all year ‘round. She is a reader for Sledgehammer Lit and can be found on Twitter @MelodyOfMusings. Her debut chapbook “Night-blooming Cereus” is coming out on December 17, 2021 with Alien Buddha Press.