Samhain All Hallows Eve’s upon us all once more: The time has come to hang the lantern’s head And hollow out the pumpkin to the core, Lighting candles, scaring off the dead. Feed the children sweets for trick or treat, Wear silly costumes, dance around some flames. Dress as messy ghosts under a sheet, Forgetting all you know about Samhain: Sacrifice, blood tributes and more death From werewolves killing cattle and those whom Would jibe at gods and witness their last breath. O
A Little Something for the Dead The small garden was full of flames and fabric. Lizzy’s Mother had made the lanterns herself. They had started out as twigs and bits of the clothes that Lizzy had grown out of. They didn’t have vegetables to spare for lanterns. The washing her mother had had to take in hung in the garden too. White sheets, floating like ghosts, glowed in the lantern’s soft, warm light. Lizzy watched a tiny flame dance dangerously behind her old nightdress. She
The Witch’s Premonition (grass moon) She floats naked in crabgrass above the flowing blades, with broom bound by willow. tickled by death skin oiled green, she rides west tears loosened, lashes burning [Where the backyard light only dresses...] Where the backyard light only dresses the blackness of the night with darker shades of faces reflecting In the leaves the night’s silver breath stings the back of your neck so your shiver echoes through the dark canyons of the trees wh
The Spirits Who Watch Us I grew up in a haunted house. It’s not so bad, it’s not like what they depict in the movies, all possession and nightmares and slamming doors (although that did happen once). It’s more like there’s something in your house that’s trapped there, confused and lost, trying to communicate to someone, anyone, so that they can gain a tether in the darkness. Something familiar that they can latch onto, some sign of life in the ether. In church we were taught
how the world ends i say hollow-eyed / with hollow / as a synonym / for hungry, as / a synonym for / curling fingers around the moon / and blotting out the stars / with dark thumbprints. i’m / looking at you, / shadows painting / skull-sockets like war paint / and eyes that want / to swallow the world / as how the void / wants to swallow you. / wolf-girl, come walk / with me; would you / have welcomed / the sun into your jaws / if she had invited it, / i wonder. i map out / t
The Frankenstein's Monster Monologues People often ask me if I sleep and I tell them, yes, but standing up like a horse. Sometimes, I try find a wall, or a tree, or a large boulder to lean up against. I certainly don’t sleep in a coffin like that idiot Dracula. I would get too claustrophobic in there. I like roaming around free in green grassy fields, also like horses. I like wandering through the countryside at night and looking up at the stars. These days I’m often confused
Dead Things Ghost Girl Vanessa Maki is a writer (& other things), queer & full of black girl magic. She has work in various places like Entropy, Rising Phoenix Press, Sad Girl Review, Soft Cartel among others & is forthcoming in Pussy Magic Press among others. She's founder/EIC of yell/shout/scream & rose quartz journal, interview editor for Tiny Flames Press, a columnist for terse journal & a regular contributor for Vessel Press. She has also self published a chapbook & micr
The Postcard and the Prescription He received a postcard from his sister in the mail that afternoon. The glossy front depicted the twin founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, suckling from the teats of the she-wolf. He pondered a theory remembered from a college elective on Ancient History. Linguistic evidence linked the she-wolf to an ancient sex worker who took pity on the twins. Tenderness and compassion threaded delicately into the violent tapestry of Roman foundation myths
When The Winds Come And when the winds come, when they come they will tear at your tears and your lashes they will tear at your poor mother's ashes And when those have spilled into autumn air,
you will reach for the dust, crumbled bone everywhere
you will catch not a mote, you will tear at your hair - you were trusted with your poor mother's ashes tears fall thick from your eyelashes
And when the cold grows, down the path go
the night seeps in, it will threaten the night
Matthew A few years ago, I was living in Somerville and freelancing. The work was uneven: I would spend weeks doing nothing, and then three jobs would come in at once. I was exhausted by boredom, and then I was exhausted by work. It was the first week of January—dark and dry and freezing. A cold front had come in, but there was no snow, and the sun set at four in the afternoon. I had no work, and I needed work. I spent my days emailing clients, asking them for new proje
This Season the gods or scientists rock cradles and burn leaves.
I want to carry our harvest
in baskets, with apples and salt, over my arm.
we need colored strings to tie in our hair;
we need ink to draw on our faces.
the season is coming,
and I want to drink from dirty glasses without caring;
chew sugared gum, pink and gritty against my tongue.
the season approaches.
the wall-art hangs crooked.
something near the road smells forgotten, by accident or omen.
Beloved I visited the cemetery every day for a month, holding vigil at the same grave, repeatedly running my fingers over the word "Beloved" on the headstone. I was there even when the sky ripped itself apart and poured agony. I didn't feel it anyway. The once bare mound sprouted grass, a reminder that time didn't stop to mourn any death. The white lilies left on the day of the funeral had long ago browned and shriveled and turned to dust. I didn't replace the flowers, instea
Invasive Dead Leaf I can't fit all the praying mantis's on my fingers, so I let them crawl inside my mouth. Maybe I'd rather be eaten
on the inside, instead of chewing off someone else's head in less than ten minutes.
Dead leaf, devil's flower, I don't believe in these judgmental gods that escalate the hate in a different direction. Hate is hate. If you're going to bite off my head,
you might as well be direct about it
and start with my heart. Spit me out of your copulat
The Virus Barbara knew her son had caught ‘the virus’: the sudden weight loss, the paling skin and bloodshot eyes; those symptoms, plus his sudden mood-swings and new-found fondness for lying in bed all day with the blinds down, and the not eating, were dead giveaways. She’d hoped, at first, that she was wrong, that it was drugs or anorexia, or some other ailment that could be reversed in time with a bit of medical help; but when she came across the sketchbook showing the se
ghost take ghosts, they’re hosts to their own haunting, wanting some attention for the retention of their myth, as if they existed, each twisted dumb fake succubus this succubus, incredulous, asks when her men in their tombs will house wombs and the coitus in death’s somnus be as fertile to beguile for a miss Mike Ferguson is an American permanently resident in the UK and published widely online. His most recent print work is the chapbook Precarious Real [Maquette Press, 2016
Pit Stop Five years ago, in the sticky damp heat of an Atlanta summer, I learned that humans are not alone in the universe. Listen. I know. I know how it sounds. But I saw what I saw, and I swear every word I'm about to tell you is true. It was a Thursday, just after ten o’clock in the evening. I had ordered dinner at one of those throwback carhop drive-ins that litter the south, and was killing the wait time paging through a battered paperback of Bradbury shorts by the phosp
the haunting i went back to Norfolk to visit our old apartment on the corner i looked up at the window half expecting to see our cats peering down at me i wonder if whoever lives there now can feel our sadness like a ghost the infestation our new dream house came with a few unpleasant surprises mold in the cabinets fleas in the carpet and hoards of spiders that crawled in to the house when the nights grew cold about the same time the white supremacists posted my name, photo,
Ribbit By the time Riley and Bella made it to the Cranes’ house, their pink pillow cases of candy dragged against the sidewalk. Illuminated by the porch lantern was a frog-shaped wicker basket as high as the girls’ waists. Ping pong balls with markered on pupils had been crammed into the eye sockets. Inside its potbelly were king size Snickers. The sign said, “Please take one each.” Riley tilted her witch’s hat. A last minute costume filched from her mother after she decided
Kitchen Witches and Wild Witches (For Rosy Petri)
Some witches grow
Rose of Sharon by their door
Hibiscus in their house
Wild orchids in their garden,
Some pull invasive plants and eat
Them raw and plant
Handfuls of sunflowers
In their wake
Some witches bake
Bread without measuring
Pie without adding one apple
Add owl tears and cinnamon,
And when you eat it,
You speak your heart.
Some witches collect
Printed on dead forests