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  Table of contents Issue Twenty THE NECROMANCER'S MAID


It is my job to shake out the ghosts.

I grab them each by the shoulders

And off the back porch give them

A snap of my arm that creates

A grand horizontal roll, ending

In a crack as their feet are forced

Furiously up and there is the thunder

Of a nearly corpuscular bend in the wind. Dust

Goes everywhere, along with collected

Crumbs of hurried meals and colonies

Of lint. Each I give four or

Five sense-settling snaps and then

Lay them short and tidy across the banister.

Oh, don’t worry.

By night fall they will be as right

As gloom, the day’s baggage

Whipped out of them, the dull

Of their existence now a pure

Gray. Shriven of earthly clutter

They can focus on their tasks at hand.

This is Tuesday’s work.

Wednesdays I groom the goblins, arrange

Stray horrors like-to-like on the mantle.

It does not take all day, and I read afterwards

The titles of the Master’s books, infer knowledge.

Thursdays the necromancers meet

In the dining room and I serve

Lunch, then polish the dinette chairs

Once the assembly has dragged itself

Unhappily away. Friday

I share a spell or two with the souls

Of witches burned or hung, pressed

Or dunked. It is good to see them corporeal again,

One day a week. Weekends are free,

And Monday is my weekday off.

But Tuesdays are the best: ghosts

In the basket behind me, ghosts

Doubled over at the rail; in the frightened air

Clouds of unrelated dust appearing to be ghosts.

And ghosts of care they are. Ghosts

Of my understanding, ghosts

Of my occupation. Don’t

Think it odd. I pay taxes.

I shop for night gowns.

I haunt the same thin slices

Of our stifling, mundane life as do you.

I just keep the presence of the past

Presentable; and I know what, after all,

I will need to do to keep you.




Ken Poyner lives in the lower right hand corner of Virginia, with his power-lifter wife and a number of house animals. His 2013 e-book, “Constant Animals”, unruly fictions, is available at all the usual e-book sites; buy it, and feel good about saving jobs in the brewing industry. Recent work is out in Corium, Analog Science Fiction, Spittoon, Poet Lore, Mobius and many other places. He webs at www.kpoyner.com, where you can find links to purchase his book, more work, and stunning pictures of his wife lifting. Ken's poem, The Stray Marriage, appears in the October 2014 issue of HelloHorror, his poem Industry appears in the Spring 2015 issue, his poem On the Side of the Law appears in the Halloween 2015 issue, and his poem Disfigurement appears in the Summer 2015 issue of HelloHorror.

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