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Featured Poem II • April 2017

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Haunt Me

 

Adele Gardner

 
 

Simka says your ghost visits her and Sydney regularly. Why not me? Where were you when I brushed aside this veil of my life for one clear moment, dreading not death, but no reunion? Fear is the prophecy, and what others shun I embrace: frights both actual and metaphysical, not for the shock, but to remind me what you felt at the end—and perhaps through danger call you, if you’re still close enough to hear me— if you still care. I have my doubts. I’ve replaced you now three times with other men: got a glimmer of fright with the first’s drunken car wreck; a frisson of fear as the second lost his job due to a fire on our one-year anniversary; but so far nothing but nightmares with the third, which he claims are normal for his level of insomnia, though he doesn’t understand why a skinny redhead with a broken nose keeps chasing him with a hatchet. If this is prophecy, I’m touched you care. But I long for you in my dreams, and languish here alone, waiting for some last sign now that I’ve sent this latest love away: should I drain my kettle and join you? Or is hell too far to carry a torch?

 

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With a master’s in English literature, Adele Gardner is an active member of the SFWA and a graduate of Clarion West. Publications include a poetry collection (Dreaming of Days in Astophel) as well as 230 poems and 40 stories in Strange Horizons, Daily Science Fiction, Legends of the Pendragon, The Doom of Camelot, American Arts Quarterly, and more. Two stories and a poem have earned honorable mentions in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, while two poems have won third place in the Rhysling Awards, given by the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Adele is literary executor for her father, mentor, and namesake, Delbert R. Gardner. Learn more at www.gardnercastle.com.

About “Haunt Me,” she wrote, “Being haunted both by past loves and my beloved dead is one of the reasons why I love to dream and dread going to sleep. I suppose some of these dreams might classify as nightmares. But even when they leave me sad for days, I relish these hauntings.”

 

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