In a chair next to a window, there is a girl,
a shadow, a wilting orchid. When no one
is looking, a petal drops, a rib pokes out,
a flutter of wings hits the glass like bodies
on pavement: the sound expanding, growing,
blossoming like cancer until it stops breathing,
the emptiness a pressed crow, a tarred feather,
all those little feelings marinating inside her
like grinding teeth and blood clots, the crowded
room now filled with nothing but ghosts.
Stephanie M. Wytovich is an American poet, novelist, and essayist. Her work has been showcased in numerous magazines and anthologies such as Weird Tales, Nightmare Magazine, Southwest Review, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror: Volume 2, The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 8, as well as many others.
Wytovich is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, and an adjunct at Western Connecticut State University, Southern New Hampshire University, and Point Park University. She is a recipient of the Elizabeth Matchett Stover Memorial Award, the 2021 Ladies of Horror Fiction Writers Grant, and has received the Rocky Wood Memorial Scholarship for non-fiction writing.
Wytovich is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an active member of the Horror Writers Association, and a graduate of Seton Hill University’s MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction. Her Bram Stoker Award-winning poetry collection, Brothel, earned a home with Raw Dog Screaming Press alongside Hysteria: A Collection of Madness, Mourning Jewelry, An Exorcism of Angels, Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare, and most recently, The Apocalyptic Mannequin. Her debut novel, The Eighth, is published with Dark Regions Press.
Follow Wytovich at http://stephaniewytovich.blogspot.com/ and on Twitter and Instagram @SWytovich and @thehauntedbookshelf. You can also find her essays, nonfiction, and class offerings on LitReactor.
This poem was originally publishedin The Apocalyptic Mannequin , Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2019