Stephanie Smith

The April Editor's Pick Poet is Stephanie Smith

Please feel free to email Stephanie at: imajican1978@yahoo.com



When the smoke alarm goes off
in the middle of the night
the ghost is ready
to tear it from the ceiling
and ask you to a cup of tea

Midnight leaves you sitting on the toilet
with a book of rhyme in your hands
wondering what it's like to be a cannibal,
to feel so cold you can see your breath

The attic rats are determined
not to let you rest tonight—
chittering and scratching on the floorboards,
pretending to be the undead as they
read Bram Stoker by the beams of moonlight
that sneak through the cracks in the wall

The horror films have ganged up on you, too—
moaning and groaning and driving you to drink
A toast to memories you care not to carry
Cursing each heartbeat
you can’t rip from your chest


I hide in the tousled hair of evening
The perfumed womb of thistle and thorns
I lick my lips, which are
cracked and chapped, bruised and burned
from centuries of kisses
and the consumption of flesh
The pain keeps me alive,
showers me with a song so sweet,
the ecstasy that grows from a hole in my ear
Lonely phantoms dance with me,
My gown stained of graveyard dirt and evil deeds
and whatever else the night can offer
I curl up inside myself when my body grows weary
It is there I find you. Your perfect visage torn,
peeled away like the pages of our
macabre biography


There’s talk of murder in the streets
Silent screams on rooftops

A madness that rides the
rippling wave of a nightmare

Somewhere a blade chases the darkness
with its moonlight sonatas

The killer wails on electric strings
the sweet, sticky sound of night

“A monster abounds!” the townsfolk cry
Torches set fire to the midnight sky

Yet there are no corpses to account for
Nothing to scrape off the road come morning

but the unmistakable stench of fear


Lindy brushes maggots off her fingertips
like any girl her age
peeling away nail polish and thinking about boys:
Adrian with his sunken eyes
who loved to worship the midnight sky
She dug up Liam's secrets one time
She didn’t break a sweat
The dirt still clings to her perfumed brow
Yet she forgets the promises
Where she buried the ring he gave her
So she searches each night amongst the graves
with their little makeshift crosses
of twigs and twine and kittens' bones
neatly lined up in a row
in the woods behind her home

Stephanie Smith is a poet and writer from Scranton, Pennsylvania. In addition to The Horror Zine, her work has appeared in such publications as Pif Magazine, Poetry Quarterly, The Literary Hatchet, Illumen, Dark Moon Digest, Danse Macabre, Whistling Shade, Foliate Oak, and Liquid Imagination.