The Wraith Poses a Question After Five Years Sober

By Diana K. Malek

Lilith with a lobe of silver hoops,
Inky dragon crawling up her shoulder, cracked lips.
Ribcage like the bones of a clenched fist
Setting televisions on fire.
And I want her
Out of my house,
Out of my life
Get out of my car you crazy bitch,
I yell, dancing on tiptoes
When she pulls up in a black SUV with tinted windows in my dream,
Her breath all pomegranates and Camel Light.
But I’m scared of her long jagged fingernails.
Her long jagged glances. 
Too much rain this year 
And how could I have forgotten I planted a garden?
Forgot it existed, an overgrown bad dream behind the blueberry bushes.
Radish leaves tall as miniature ponies.
An orgy of hard red bulbs, rising out of the folds of wet earth,
Pressing manically against each other. 
I try to eat them, slices big as apples, on bread with mayo
And they burn like leaking old batteries.
When everyone leaves in the morning, house full of last night’s crusted pans,
Floor scattered with the desiccated corpses of cricket nymphs
I was convinced were baby grasshoppers — a good omen for once —
I trip over the perennially unhomed printer on the kitchen floor
And into a day of scrolling social media and overeating stale rice crackers.
When she appears — inevitable and sullen — mid wasabi pea, I throw rosaries 
Around my neck like a Mardi Gras lunatic,
Rub symbols on my cheeks with blood I keep on low boil
Over the stove flame with hyssop and rosemary.
Whisper Jesus cast this demon from my mind and my body
The way I always do, but today
She hands me a cup of hot almond milk with whisked matcha
(Whiff of sweet peas and fairy’s breath),
Drops into the turgid pink wingback my husband calls The Angry Chair,
One beautiful tooth newly chipped,
Wiggling her four-inch stiletto boot, 
Voice of the daughter I thought I never had
Shrugging why do you want to keep killing
The part of you that just wants to survive this?


Diana K. Malek lives in rural CT with her husband. She has held innumerable odd jobs in addition to being a writer, dancer, and painter. She is currently a candidate at the C. G. Jung Institute of New England. Her poems have appeared recently in Ghost City Review, Olney Magazine, Sky Island Journal, and Mud Room Magazine.

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