The Pale Woman (a poem)

Down the winding path, you go deep into the forest –

the dense birch trees make it so dark that only

a faint light breaks through and illuminates

the leave-strewn path.

You were told to avoid this place – a place

where corpses dangle from branches and

lay twisted on the forest floor, their faces

stuck in a final moment of eagerness to

kill a lifetime of sorrow.

Squirrels creep toward you, unafraid, staring at you

with black eyes that know secrets hidden in this place.

The path lures you into the heart of illicit enchantment –

you hear a faint weeping, the whimpering of a damsel

who has crossed into the hell of perpetual sin.

Daylight fades too quickly – pieces of sky above

darken instantly – the hands of your watch spin backwards.

The sky shifts from black to pale blue on repeat –

the woman’s cries grow louder – squirrels scatter

up trees in feverish packs – they are like maggots in a Dumpster –

their high-pitched chirps sting your ears.

You fall to your knees and vomit – your head pounds,

the squirrel-noise soars to agonizing heights –

the whimpering woman appears, wearing a long, white dress,

stained with blood – her eyes black like the devil.

She offers a fragile hand, you touch it and feel

the icy palm – she leads you down the path, tells you

the pain is sweet, the forest is your home –

close your eyes, watch your skin turn chalky white,

feel the coolness of your breath – fall into her arms –

they are so cold, but feel so right –

this oblivion feels like home.

(Photo by Stefano Pollio on Unsplash)

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