In Wicked Hollows,
On Darkling Plains
David C. Kopaska-Merkel
In the distance: black birds fly swiftly
skimming whitecaps in warm dusk
hurrying to roost.
I sip Kona on my wooden dock,
the wife inside, a good book at hand.
My hand no longer trembles, see?
Nothing can touch me here.
Which is how it will begin, but brace yourself,
The Horrorshow is imminent
madness in the news, next door, within,
boring into your crumbling life;
A weevil in the boll, I’ll eat your heart away.
I’ll seal up my rooms
With duct tape and plastic,
forsake the bay,
that will keep out my ghosts,
my demons, and anything else
That tries to diminish me
Duct tape is good, but what about the floor?
I’ll diffuse like radon through the cracks
in your sub-basement, locked, forgotten, vulnerable.
Like the moon, I will rise,
Flood your bomb shelter brain till you can
cogitate no more and the tide, remember,
I’ll read some King, Stoker, or Poe
because I know I am, as ever,
sole, complete, a unitary thing.
Your antics tell me what I always knew:
You are a broken toy my glance will sever
You’ll find the abyss welcoming, I trust.
More than you ever wanted to know
In wicked hollows of the soul,
on darkling plains.
Flames will eat your walls,
peel the paint, blacken your wallpaper,
fill your cerebrum with foul smoke,
arouse the reptile in your cerebellum.
The conflagration will not sear me,
petals licking my asbestos spirit,
ambushing the convoy of my emotions,
and tearing at the throat of my thoughts
For naught: my armor’s not susceptible.
You don’t look well, you’re like that corpse
of an old hotel, façade almost intact
but just a shell and inside fear disports
with pain, oh hell, your inner secrets sacked
your tree I’ll fell and you will have no need
for books: you are indeed complete,
as I begin to feed.