He called her Sugar
then winked
with a smile that slithered.
She coughed,
choking as he tightened his grip.
He touched her hand,
called her Darlin’,
ordered a second cup of coffee.
She flirted
with her bigger tip smile
never feeling his fangs
pierce her skin.
She re-filled his cup,
he told a story
about a girl he used to love
looked just like her.
He stroked her arm,
when she pulled away
he bit deeper.
She had been his wife,
high school sweethearts,
died in childbirth,
every word a lie,
but she softened.
His eyes were blue
like her dad’s
and he was broken.
He called her Darlin’,
this time
like it meant something.
He waited
until her shift ended,
they left together
hand in hand
his venom
coursing through her veins.

This Abandonment

I saw your demon one night
when he came looking for you.

I spoke to the author of your hell
while he carved your name in his flesh.

He had no interest in the pieces of you on the floor
that I had been scraping up to save,

allowing me to continue,
even holding the dustpan.

He expected me to bargain for you,
offering myself, perhaps, for the blue of your eyes,

but I was busy reconstructing you
from skin flakes, dreams and river silt.

I was in the wrong place at the right time
or told the right joke to the wrong audience,

maybe praised the right god for the wrong reasons,
could be I vomited the wrong sick into the right bag.

I saw your demon one Friday night
and he didn’t care for me

or my cavalier attitude
about his position in your life.

Play the eighty eights,
the song I wrote for you

in the key of c.
I’ll always be able to hear it.

Hide and Seek

They were here,
I saw them,
looking at me
with reluctant eyes,
the odor of spices
in the air.

Wanderers playing at
children’s games,
hide and seek
with coiled rope
and warnings
drawn in the dirt.

I went to their house
because I wouldn’t take no
for an answer,
but only their pictures
were home,
in burnished wood frames,
posed for destiny,
standing at the windows,
guards for the ephemera.

They were here,
insulated from taste,
singing arias
to one another,
parchment treaties
the family currency,
signed in absentia
by all of us
with a pen
and an axe to grind.

Christopher Hivner's chapbook of poetry "The Silence Brushes My Cheek Like Glass" was published online by Scars Publications and a collection of horror stories "The Spaces Between Your Screams" was published in 2008. He can be visited at www.chrishivner.com.

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