Bela Lugosi's Dead

Lindsay Carlin

Better than the sigh of cheap silk,
The spray of rubber cement spiderwebs and
dry ice mouth when I transform
leather-winged, furred with hope
against being human.

Hard to keep up without the guise of fangs,
only painted glass turrets and
armadillos snuffling earwigs
in the corners.

Hope for the eye,
For pin lights that stop the blinking
or I can’t lean over
the glazed maiden,
bowed like cassette ribbon – the same stilted words,
the same pauses to inhale.
The claw of my hand cast out,
divining for the body’s blood.
Always waiting to
become the monster.

“Just pretend you are someone else’s dream,” they said.
The camera looks at me
“Let the fear come to you.”

The young girls never care anymore.
They deflect my stare with iPhone apps,
ask me if I glitter.
In the old days we died
for the sun. Lust-smeared
lips, food-coloring red.

Now it will be for the sour grit
of pill against wet throat.
Blue cylinders etched with a sideways smiley face.
Fixed dots, contours that slough clean
as they roll over into me.
That soft sound of swallowing –
what music
they make.