He came to our town two days before Halloween.
He arrived after dark, rolling down the street
in a red car. No one saw him casing the neighborhood
or pulling up next to the young girl walking home
from a Girl Scout meeting.
He asked her was she selling cookies?
His belly grumbled under the sound
of the engine purring. The girl thought she saw
a cat reflected in the lowered window, but it wasn’t that.
Only a black shadow.
She said no, sorry, & the candy wrapper fell
from her hands, to the ground out of fear.
The evening breeze carried it along the sidewalk
to where it would be found later, after she disappeared.
Meanwhile, the car door swung open
to let her in. Silence said come now & she listened.
She trusted the strange smile made for her.
Her parents let her walk wherever she wanted–
out alone or with a friend. They forgot to warn her
some places are haunted & some people are villains.
You know them by instinct, sense the evil lurking
within a heartbeat that drifts out of reach,
like a webbed leaf down a river going nowhere.
THE LONGEST DAY
Morning rips the memory
from my mind space–
the two of us charging the rug
with our electric bodies.
Inside our mouths it is night.
I cling to your back
& the scars living there
whisper a tale to my hands.
You fear the long-haired man
sharing the room with us. The thorns
strangling the full heart in his chest,
the earth-bound rhythm.
But you cannot remove his icon.
Instead, you cower & seek refuge
in shadow, the long howl of a phantom
wolf yearning for its last moon.
The man you are is lost & unknown
to the image on the wall. A fool.
Beneath your bed lies a riddle–
a snake, silent & coiled. One eye gone.
I cannot look away or hide my face.
Between dreaming & the first breath
of dawn is the triumphant sound you make
after breaking me in, building a den
out of my rattling bones.
The sweet dew dripping
from your tongue sticks to mine–
a sign of our allegiance
to the solstice sun rising
over this amber season.
Sarah Marquez is an MA candidate at Southern New Hampshire university. She has work published and forthcoming in various magazines and journals, including Amethyst Review, Anthropocene, Peculiars Magazine, Crêpe & Penn, and Ink&Nebula. When not writing, she can be found reading, sipping coffee, or tweeting @Sarahmarissa338.