Below the Rake

For the time you waited
in the weeds, slithering
through my undergarments,
positioning to bite me,
a thousand injuries,
and I was your perfect fruit
the apple of your eye
the peel may feel fresh
long after the core dies.

Parade madness, a home you’ll go?
Your health is precious, and
it’s no matter to me
how twisted the evening goes.
Chambers stocked
lets tipsy downtown
see what tickles our
Mardi Gras toes.

Bruised in the embrace
of your excessive warmth.
You have the member
of a motley jester,
and I know you of old,
so I bend, show you
the trowel beneath my folds;
your eyes, fuzzy streetlights.

Come let us go, and you stumble
sticking your hands in cobweb hair
a weak point
trusting a spider won’t bite
because it enjoys the shivering.

The tinkling of the elevator bells
the pleasure of a redresser.
Why so cold?
Helps to harden the tips, you say,
and you laugh heartily,
forgetting the time you set fire
to my family tree
immolation
molestation
burning those closest to me.

I didn’t know you had a fetish
you joke as I fetter you to the posts.
I smile, there’s much you don’t know,
and I point through the window:
bricks exposed and broken
where fireworks explode.
Shhhh, just think of those;
you whimper each time
my chamber unloads.
This is for my niece–
snake below the rake,
rest in peace.


I taught this short story for many years. This poem was written for a Late Night Poet’s Twisted Tuesday “The Poe in Poetry.” What Poe tale inspires you? If you’ve written a piece based on Poe, please share a link.

The Cask of Amontillado
A story of revenge
The narrator in this story vows revenge upon a man named Fortunato. He takes advantage of Fortunato’s ego and lures him down into the recesses of an underground vault to taste a rare wine, a cask of Amontillado.

Artis/Illustrator: Arthur Rackham

14 Comments

  1. K.Hartless

    Thank you, John. The way that Poe makes you root for evil and laugh and snicker through sickness is amazing. I tried to capture his playfulness and also his biting humor. Think I could toss this one in the tumbler, and smooth it over–might still do that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. johnlmalone

    I found it difficult at first but I remember what you said about that sad, ignored post of yours so I went back to it and though I still don’t really know what’s going on, I enjoyed the playful, snickering imagery; like that Waterboys song’ I saw the crescent, you saw the whole of the moon’ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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