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It gawks each time I cross the quad, doing who knows what with the stubby, pitted, groping fingers carved between its weathered knees.

It peers into my room from its perch atop the library, its heart cold as headstones, its gaze a host of half-thawed maggots wriggling up and under my bath towel.

One night on the phone, Gramma pushes and presses, until finally I admit I'm not sleeping too well. Why's that? I glance out my window and blame the monstrous morning sun.

When new curtains arrive Priority Express (Flea market special!—Love, Gramma), my stomach drops as I stare at the box. How's she gonna pay for her heart pills next month?

Two weeks later, I'm squeezing my ruby-red phone cord between sweaty fingers, lying to Gramma how I sleep better now, that new curtains were just what I needed.

But my admirer, hunched in the darkness outside, knows I will not reveal how Gramma's kind, sweet, useless gesture made things so much worse, knows I will not risk her enfeebled heart

with talk of the wild-eyed, winged thing that taps nightly at my window now, grinding my name with a voice like limestone crushed beneath balding tires in a flea-market parking lot.

This poem originally appeared in Eye to the Telescope #44. Check it out here!


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