A Haunted House Disclaimer by M. Brett Gaffney
This is what you’ve paid for,
my gravel-voice behind this mask,
my makeup like brimstone—
What’s wrong sweetheart?
You don’t think I’m pretty?
You want me like this
bloody and bad-girl,
hand heavy with baseball bat,
wrapped with rusty barbed-wire,
dangerous at my side.
You tell me how you’d like to slip your tongue
through, push past latex to my lips.
Just the voice, baby, only my swagger.
You can’t get at the woman
under all this filth and grime.
Is it a guy or a girl? someone asks.
Do you really care?
Aren’t there better questions here?
Like how much blood can I carry
on the outside, all over my clothes,
these torn-up jeans like midnight slaughter,
boots scuffed with after-death, the skin
dust of everything you’re afraid of most.
Remember, it’s what you wanted,
the grit and grin of chainsaws waiting
behind me, like hungry hounds,
and in my fist is buried the leash.
You want me to let it go.
Tell me how much.
Shove your ticket in my hand
like a dirty secret and run.
M. Brett Gaffney, born in Houston, Texas, holds an MFA in poetry from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and is Art Editor of Gingerbread House literary magazine. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Exit 7, Still: the Journal, Permafrost, Scapegoat Review, Rogue Agent, museum americana, Devilfish Review, BlazeVOX, and Zone 3, among others. During the Halloween season she haunts the Dent School House in Cincinnati, Ohio where she lives with her partner and their dog, Ava.
Tags: A Haunted House Disclaimer, M. Brett Gaffney, Poetry