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  • Writer's pictureNeon Mariposa Magazine

A Sigh In The Dark by Amanda Crum

You like to imagine what you would do

if you heard hangers clashing together

in the closet. When it’s 3 a.m., the loneliest hour,

but you’re not as alone as you thought you were.

You think of all the times you’ve seen the shadows move

and every spot in the house that held you rooted

while a madman’s gaze yanked your neck in the dark,

and you know that it wouldn’t end well.

As the wind speaks in tongues, waking the trees,

you close your eyes to create seams against the night.

You’ve always had a good imagination,

but this feels like more. It’s the sound of a train whistle after midnight,

it’s the way the leaves break the sidewalk in October.

When a chill lowers the atmosphere you snuggle down,

the certainty that you won’t last until morning

clanging in your brain.

Will those blankets save you from a cold finger up the spine?

Footfalls in an empty hallway?

There are corners of the universe so black

that even bats won’t roost. The barn is one;

the basement is another. What lives there?

you wonder. And you realize, too late,

that what you thought was the wind outside your window

is really a sigh in the dark.

Amanda Crum is a writer and artist whose work has appeared in publications such as Barren Magazine and Eastern Iowa Review and in several anthologies, including Beyond The Hill and Two Eyes Open. Her first chapbook of horror-inspired poetry, The Madness In Our Marrow, was shortlisted for a Bram Stoker Award nomination in 2015. Amanda's middle-grade fiction book, The Darkened Mirror, was published in the summer of 2019 by Riversong Books. She currently lives in Kentucky with her husband and two children, where she cultivates an obsession with chips and salsa.

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