The true art of the curse is lost
no takes the time anymore to scowl so deeply
it leaves a permanent furrow
spit three times and cross the street to avoid a shadow
and carry a grudge to the grave
no one bothers any more to cast malisons
into dark corners and forget them there
because to be lost is the truth
of the true art of the curse
that no one escapes
The true art of the curse is the room with dark corners
a pinch of tansy
reddened eyes from weeping
the secret grave the doll was buried in
and the stained bones
mere bad language
the true curse
splits one’s own tongue in twain
and cares not
Fear leaves its mark
That later courage can’t efface; and still they teach as they were taught.
What do they understand about the dark?
The night’s for springing evil, sullen things that lurk.
Perhaps they knew this once, but in the lengthening years, forgot.
(And yet still feel a vague unease: fear leaves its mark.)
Can’t they recall night’s broken silences, how stark
Each alien sound? Recall the endless waiting for the things the night has brought?
Why can’t they understand about the dark?
They will not speak of things that wait or stalk;
They will not name the ones who have been lost
At night, or speak to those upon whom fear has left its mark.
Instead they’ll tell you to be brave; they’ll smirk
And say your fear is only in your thoughts.
Oh no, they do not understand about the dark.
And nothing that they say to do will work:
You cannot face, or fight, or flee. You cannot.
Fear lives outside you, and will leave its mark
On those who understand about the dark.
If something comes
I swear I’ll hear the sound.
But then what? Can I run?
A dream will hunt me down.
Who once feared dying loves the done deed, death:
the body purged of breath,
relieved of the uncertainty of what comes next,
relieved of the need to expect.