We Normally Avoid Scotty’s House
But today we decide to chuck rocks at his door,
watching as they sparkle midair before
we run for cover. They hit with sharp, small force.
When Scotty comes out, we duck,
pressed tight against his neighbor’s car.
Our hands try to smother laughter.
We count one, two, waiting to get caught, nine, ten…
The brave one, I peek over the hood and see him
standing on his porch, eyes already on me. I run,
abandoning my friend who, for reasons perhaps
beginning here, would not be my friend for long.
Scotty has called by the time I make it home.
I know this as soon as I see Dad pacing our driveway,
and, wrist-grabbed, I’m dragged back the way I came.
Dad says he’s ashamed, that I need Scotty’s forgiveness.
Just one knock and Scotty appears, framed
by his doorway. A sour smell seeping from inside.
I try to appear calm, but up close, his dark red beard
looks like flames licking at his face,
the way his smile, undisturbed, seems to lick at mine.
The case of Mercy Lena Brown, a 19-year-old resident of the town of Exeter, was the
last known instance in the state of Rhode Island of a large group of otherwise sensible
folks exhuming, mutilating, immolating, and cannibalizing a corpse to kill a vampire.
They fed you to your brother to save his life. Did you ever hope for regret?
_______-They called me Daemon,
_______and so I became one.
Mercy, what about you makes them afraid?
_______-I have corrupted them all—
_______there is not enough of me to kill.
The people continue to visit your grave, after all these years, leaving behind gifts and food
_______and coins and letters. What do they want from you now?
_______-They want me to let go.
Mercy, what is it like to watch the people beg your forgiveness?
_______-Like watching my death
_______over and over.
Why do they hide behind your grave at night?
_______-It’s a game, you see.
_______Whoever finds me
_______gets to keep me.
Bryanna Licciardi’s work has appeared in such journals as BlazeVOX, Poetry Quarterly, Cleaver Magazine, Adirondack Review, 491 Magazine, and Dos Passos. She currently lives just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. You can visit her website at www.bryannalicciardi.com to read more about her and her publications.