Melancholy Hyperbole

Poetry about longing.

It’s always in the basement

It’s always in the basement:

      the crazy aunt who cackles
head in a hatbox smiling as
a snake does before it bites you

deformed child that moans for attention
squatting by boxes sorry about what happens later

hulking machinery and appliances
that whirl thump and squish

cobweb-shaggy corners
dark concealed spaces

tiny chittering glee made
by things that will eat you
      maybe before you’re dead

gargoyles, goblins and gremlins, oh my

Skelebunnies, Skoffin and Scholl

black creatures with glowing eyes
red eyes or eyes on floppy long stalks
      holding mops covered in mold and intestines

portals to hell and deflowered prom
queens with tire tracks on their gowns

whispering walls lurking behind shelves
bearing dolls whose heads are half gone
or who spin around, disappear to reappear
      when you turn away

your fifth grade teacher holding a ruler
with a honed steel edge which she smacks
on pipes; the chink chills your heart

smeared mirrors showing people
long dead or clowns with blood stained chins

framed examples of dead relatives whose eyes
      track you with hungry zest

smells of dust, dirt and wheezy things

and you cannot find, you will not find
the heart-shaped box mother sent you for

it’s in the attic—but that’s a different nightmare.
Michelle Hartman has been published in Spillway, Crannog, and RiverSedge, as well as over sixty other journals and twenty anthologies. Her work also appears overseas in Ireland, Germany, Australia, Canada and Nepal. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize several times. Her poetry book, Disenchanted and Disgruntled, from Lamar University Press, is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. She is the editor for the online journal, Red River Review .

Categories: Monster Mash, Poetry, Themed

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