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Content Warning: dark themes, death, horror

Olga - House 1.jpg

Adrian Dallas Frandle – Deathwatch

(Xestobium rufovillosum)

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.

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