Content Warning: dark themes, death, horror
Adrian Dallas Frandle – Deathwatch
Darkness swarms like scavengers
over the discarded carapace of the house. Its bone
smooth grooved wooden beams & white
plastered walls teem with silence.
All is wormed through with quiet.
The grandfather clock is yet a child
to this world and he hoists grubby arms
aloft, tottering ever slowly toward
midnight. The house gathers itself
around a deathbed. The ceiling bows
to place its head against a heaving
chest. Listen: vermin in the gables hush
themselves in reverence. They, too,
press pink ears to thin walls straining
to catch the final death-sigh. The priest
muffles last rites and quietly ribbons
his Bible, anxiously fingers its spine.
A soul should fly up and out, carried
on its last breath, but must first
clear canopy and the damned
rafters quickly before the Devil’s reply.
Family packs around the dying, bereft
of soothing sound, quiet as they are
afraid to spook the departing spirit.
As the hands of time clasp together
overhead and clang their toll, soul’s
mortal mist alights the bed when
it should escape instead, ascend.
Down it is, then.
Gasps rip through glove-covered lips,
pursed tight against this trespass.
The time has come, the veil thinned,
t-t-t-tap the Devil wants in. By signs:
his knock, his frass, it is we know, evil
is a silhouette cut from Nature’s
shadow. Darkness pupates long
in the soul, it’s true. Which early hour
will hatch it to claim its due in you?
Adrian Dallas Frandle (he/they) is a poet & queerdo cook. A poetry reader for Variant Lit Mag & Okay Donkey Lit Mag/Press, they have poems in HAD, Daily Drunk Mag's "Marvelous Verses" print anthology, Final Girl Mag, Stone of Madness Press, Celestite Poetry Journal & FEED Lit Mag. Work forthcoming in Moist Poetry Journal, the lickety~split, The Madrigal, Rejection Letters, wrongdoing magazine, Olney Mag, Sledgehammer Lit Mag &more. Tweets: @adrianf
Artwork: Olga – House 1
Olga makes art.