Anton Pooles: Three Poems for Haunted Passages

He Did Not Listen

Now his bones are neatly displayed
on a table like a museum piece.

They shine like hard boiled eggs,”
his Mother says proudly.

Then her tone darkens,
put them back where you found them—

let them be a warning to all
disobedient children.” 

The Creature Beneath the Porch

Knock on wood. It follows
as I pace back and forth.

Nails rustling or speech
of an ancient language?  

It wants out
from its dark, hidden palace,
but I can’t remember the ritual words:
Ph’ngluiR’lyeh
something, something.

Put your tongue to the roof of your mouth,
cough out his name in two syllables. 

What will emerge?

Rodent? Cosmic God?

I imagine a great evil
rising from the wooden planks.
Destroying my house
under its mighty foot.

I am driven mad the moment
it sets its eldritch eyes upon me.

Its colossal body casting
a shadow over the city
before consuming it entirely.

Knock on wood.
What will emerge?

The sun is still to high
to know for sure. 

The Ferryman

Look below,
the punt pole cannot reach.
Bottomless, black water.

Passage bought. I sit alone
in Charon’s sordid company—
his ferry leaving no ripple
as it glides across the Styx.

On the shore is a cue
of countless souls.
Their penniless eyes
thirst for my blood.

With yellow teeth
Charon bites down
upon the coins
to make sure I haven’t
cheated him.

Anton Pooles was born in Novosibirsk, Siberia, and lives in Toronto. He is Editor-in-Chief of Cypress Press, and his work has appeared with This Magazine, Icefloe Press, Long Con Magazine, Train, and others. He is the author of the chapbook Monster 36 by Anstruther Press (2018).

Image: villians.fandom.com

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