There’s No Praying in the House of Horrors

Two spooky poems by Domenica Martinello

There’s No Praying in the House of Horrors

I Pray in Screamers House of Horrors

Part of me 
was still on the party bus  
with the estranged branch of my family. 
Part of me swallowed a wavy 
strand of the Niagara Falls. 
It rappelled down my throat  
like coloured scarves, each knot  
a repentance, resentment lost,  
while part of me clicked a padlock closed  
on the redemption arc for luck.  
Part of me was gleeful  
at unsnapping the twig and reversing the tape. 
Part of me knew the blood was fake 
while the dark tunnel shrieked in August heat. 
On my knees in the hooded canal, whites turn blue  
and bare their teeth at the part of me willing 
myself to heal without giving the trick away. 
Under the strobe lights, sharp shivering staccato 
like a crunched popsicle, part of me was promised 
a celebratory pin, I made it through 
Screamers House of Horrors,  
even after all of this. 
Part of me rolled my eyes  
through the roadblock of ghosts  
and skeletons like bowling pins lined  
for a strike. Part of me hit the gutter 
hard and came out the other side  
into whoops and hollers, pats on the back, 
smacked with the black, beaming flashlight  
of forgiveness. 
While part of me did not believe, not for 
one fucking second, in all of that  
terrible business. 

I Pray to Stop the Blood

I went for a walk on my knees 
in the woods. Spiders crunched 
under the heels of my hands like 
dried flowers. I fell forward 
into the stinging, universal privacy  
of the singed grass and wondered 
whether I was on the earth’s back 
or her stomach.

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