Size / / /

Our captain returns,

a little thinner,

a little grayer.

Sometimes a tremor

in his hands,

but we pretend

not to notice.

We are his reminders,

a company of ghosts,

prisoners in kind.

A comrade

shares his haunts,

blood on leather,

a rain of shadows

over desecrated graves,

we didn't know

who or what to look for,

didn't know they

would be our own

Fields blackened

with small bodies

lined up uniformly

side by side, as if

obsessively arranged.

Tonight the turnkey

wears long skirts,

her voice like notes.

The air thickens

with her oily scent,

bright scales glitter,

as she fills our trays

with rancid meat,

& bitter wine.

Marge Simon won the 2008 Bram Stoker for Vectors: A Week in the Death of a Planet, with Charlee Jacob, Dark Regions Press. Three other self-illustrated publications are now available: Like Birds in the Rain, Sam’s Dot Publications, Night Smoke with Bruce Boston, Kelp Queen Publications, and Legends of the Fallen Sky, Sam's Dot Publications, with Malcolm Deeley. TBP: Unearthly Delights, Sam's Dot Publishing, 2009. Marge serves as editor of Star*Line. She resides online at and can be reached by email at:

Marge Ballif Simon free lances as a writer-poet-illustrator for genre and mainstream publications such as Nebula Awards 32, Strange Horizons, Flashquake, Space & Time, Dreams & Nightmares, Aoife’s Kiss, Dark Regions, Fantasy Magazine, The Pedestal Magazine, EOTU, Tales of the Unanticipated. She has illustrated three Stoker award collections. Her illustrated poetry collection, “Artist of Antithesis” was a Stoker finalist in 2004.
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