The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Sheikha A.
She tells me gold cannot be hexed
and I believe her – black muslin cloths
cover the face of my mother’s jewellery;
the cupboards stand on eaten planks,
tiny jaws of termites pierce wood like fabric;
they got into the sink – when wood disabled
their buffet, they extended to pipes and metal,
like anthropology in times of crises – their caves
like sarcophagi mounding bodies
of what they claimed. She told me
homes of ghosts could not be invaded,
and I believed her – I let her bring them in
and they housed. Heavy scent of incense
webs the walls as spell-water moulds
the insides; they’ve spread wide as plump
foliage, building weight from acclimating
to the lack of fleshy wood, gripping
on glass with the finesse of hooks;
she told me they smell when they die
of dank rust and dehydrated corpses;
I believed her like an apostle until they left.
My mother’s gold still bears black masks,
the gems have been cast into salt water;
and they’ve grown under sinks, leaving
their dead skins behind, finding a new route
through drains – through way of gnawing,
leaving trails of their arrival as caked dust.
She tells me in dreams of her body – mounds
of teeth on her thinning flesh – they housed
her wood, and then her pipes, until one night
they covered her walls, building down
towards floors, they found her bed, fresh-
scented silver and gold – red planks of blood-
hued food it didn’t take long for them to finish;
they smelt her insides reeking of mould,
delicious meat ripe with black deeds;
the strings of her harping throat plucked first
as her eyes watched them building their cave,
dexterous tiny jaws relishing her for days.
She tells me they’ve entered her blood,
casking her in their motes; she tells me
she’s still breathing, and I believe her –
Fiction © Copyright Sheikha A.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from author Sheikha A.:
Poems by Sheikha A. and Suvojit Banerjee
“The night is cold enough to inspire poetry,” says Sheikha A. in her poem, “Reading My Bones.” This is the basis of Nyctophiliac Confessions – poems that are introspective and luminal, poems that require a certain amount of silence and space to be fully formed and appreciated. Reading these poems, I imagined that they were the kind of poems that assert themselves unbidden during a bout of insomnia. (A nyctophiliac being someone who loves the night or loves darkness).
Nyctophiliac Confessions is the 17th installment of Praxis’ chapbook series and contains twenty-six poems written by two poets, Sheikha A. and Suvojit Banerjee, interspersed with abstract paintings by Robert Rhodes.