She Warns Me

The carpet is dusty rose, shadowed corners.
Thorns twist up pink walls.
My side of the bed. A black line. My little sister's side.
Her head overripe with nightmares like rotten pumpkin guts;
slime-sheathed fingers, off-color
and lurking beneath the cream
dust ruffle. Paralyzed to sodden sheets
by conjured up milk snake teeth, she soils heart-patterned panties;
can't uncoil her mummified thights.

Mother rubs my fingers, curling
towards uneasy sleep. Then she starts spinning
her cautionary yarn. Madder-blue and sticky, she warns me
not to talk as the strands batten purplish and hot.
Saturated gauze. Viscous clots. Thorns on the bedspread
flicking open like knivey licks. Prickly hives.
I can't hide. She kneads my wrist;
shifts my pulse into transfixed rhythm.

Dark red words prick out her throat.
Gloss-slicked nails drill in as her voice slithers up
spiked creeping vines. A black line blurs
into bristling trellis. Throbbing. Little sister ensanguined,
straining twisted limbs. Furry bodies wriggle in sockets. Honey
bees burst out her eyes. Leave behind
tiny stingers pumping venom into trespassed flesh.

Mother's burgeoning tongue. Cyanosis-blue and serrated
abduction. I can't hide. I surrender to the toxic spill,
the swarm. Excrutiating swell and thrall.
Words sprawl disembodied. A husky hum
from the filthy darkness underneath a rusty engine.
Tendons slashed. Ripped open dress. Knivey licks
and public restroom reek of chloroform.

From the filthy darkness underneath a dusty rose bed,
Mother hisses. Lurking beneath the cream,
a sinister stranger caresses an industrial-size syringe.
Beady eyes swoop towards shrouded sister.
As soon as he gets out of that hole, he'll load it
with acid from a live car battery. He'll slam it
deep into her carotid and watch her brain fry;
green slime frothing out mouth and ears.


"She Warns Me" first appeared in the print lit mag Eye (now defunct), as well as in Horrific Confection (BlazeVOX Books).

Dressed to Kill
dir. Brian de Palmer