In which she suffers a haunting

Just because her ghosts release on the world, a thousand banshees, doesn’t mean she’s released from pain.

Writing by Featured Writer Shilo Niziolek
Art by Featured Artist Erica Peebus

In which she suffers a haunting—
—just because her ghosts release
on the world, a thousand banshees,
doesn’t mean she’s released

from pain—pain being oldest
of languages, foul-mouthed,
long-toothed, triumphant
in its ever-changing nature, ever-
staying the same—maybe that’s why

the woman took the carving
spoon to her eye, scooped it out like
it was meant for some child’s
ice cream cone; one scoop or two?
Dripping maraschino cherry red, syrup
pooling on lips; you can release

a thousand haunts on the world;
never enough, not now, not
when you peer, pull back the curtain, look into
dark cavern where there used to be

glassy eye—you see the ghosts, sardines in a can, mouths
agape—the pressure that must have caused: inhumane,
inhuman, the suffering;
but you watch her reach

to stony ground, pack eye socket
tight with cool comfort of river

rocks; she begins swallowing

—sandstone, basalt, siltstone—rocking
them in there, as it were, all the little
haunts, sealing the gaps.

About the Author

Shilo Niziolek’s (she/her) memoir, FEVER, is out from Querencia Press. Her chapbook, A Thousand Winters In Me, is out from Gasher Press. I Am Not An Erosion: Poems Against Decay, a micro chapbook of collage poetry was part of Ghost City Press’s online summer series 2022. Her work has appeared in Pork Belly Press, Buckman Journal, Juked, The Blood Pudding, Entropy, Oregon Humanities, HerStry, among others, and is forthcoming in West Trade Review, Phoebe Journal, Crab Creek Review, Wishbone Words, Sunday Mornings at the River and Pumpernickel House.  Shilo holds an MFA from New England College and is Associate Faculty at Clackamas Community College. She is the co-founder and editor of Scavengers.

About the Artist

Erica Peebus (b.1982) recently moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana from Portland, Oregon where she received her BFA with an emphasis in painting in 2013 from the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Erica’s acrylic paintings can be described as both dark and whimsical. Employing a strong illustrative quality, she mixes realism with graphic details. Her works often represent plants, animals, bones, and the human figure exposing her fascination with life and death as well as her love for the natural and super natural world. Her work is heavily influenced by religious symbolism, renaissance paintings, mythology, folklore, and surrealism.

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