a grotesque pest in the dark with
lines running through its head wants to splinter itself
to fucking bits because someone forgot to turn on the light
and now the space is restless,
if the constant curtain-swish and trapdoor teeth-chatter
is anything to go by.
at the turn of the light what’s supposed to happen is
a dissolution of leftover selves,
a melee of souls fleeing the seep
of white slivers between blissful curtain-dark,
a silent purge of last evening’s sobfest,
the same story every single goddamn night.
the vital light fends off the ghosts
of papery skin-dust and vapor, who
rattle and shudder and smolder this drafty house.
the creature in the wings loathsome shivers,
its edges flaking off to the swift burn of its skin, while
the stage peels splinter by filthy splinter.
the fear and heat of the creature, the feat
of its blind crawl up the catwalk,
the steely grip of its toes, the drip
of inky oil-blood through crowded air.
the menace weeps into its teeth. its breaths grow brief.
onstage, a little caged light ignites.
Paula Chew is a writer living in New York. She wheedles her time away writing poetry, criticism, and personal essays about ghosts (and sometimes other topics). You can read her work here and keep up with her inane thoughts here.