To set the feel for the rest of the issue, the editors of Goblin Fruit start it off with the haunting image of “The Vigil” by Mike Allen (for a visual of this “woman,” check out the art by Elisabeth Heller for the issue): “Where her eyes affix cannot be guessed. / Beneath a hat of iron wire / hang tattooed skins that veil her face.” Reading the rest of the issue, you’ll get the sense that she is watching you:
If something starts in motion,
so will she:
Her steed combust and roar to life,
her veil pulse,
her weapon howl.
If even a soul stirs,
so will she.
C.W. Johnson’s “Vigor Mortis” is about how the narrator’s mother was “dead” a lot: “Sometimes it stretched into weeks, until / she began to smell and we buried // her in the garden.”
now my sister insists mother is dead.
The telephone’s been quiet as a coffin,
and last year sister bought a headstone,
but I say, any moment she’ll open her eyes,
spit out the worms,
and shake off the earth once more.
The last lines of Virginia M. Mohlere’s “Cardiomythology” are haunting as well, but in a different way:
It is a heart
constructed by a lonely doll-maker,
cobbled together with stitches and tape,
parts knocked off like the moon,
formed and reformed.
As a bone knit after fracture
is more elastic, powerful, but it
simply ticks off time —
worn out by tumult,
ruddering from star to star.
Hoping to wash up
on a quiet grey shore.
Rachel Dacus ends the issue with “Kingdom”: “Let the cobras bite as they will. / Here’s my breast. The sting won’t last. / I’m taking back my kingdom.”
There are several more poems in this issue to give you chills. By the time you finishing reading, you’ll feel your blood turn cold, goosebumps will have traveled up your back, and you’ll be looking over your shoulder—is she still watching?