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After our years of marriage, our months of dread,
after your funeral, the house trembled,
let go. Nights, I heard sounds that signaled danger—
loose boards, glass breaking in the basement,
cars idling too long. I’d go to bed
with a steak knife under my pillow. Eyes closed,
I’d practice calling 911. In childhood,
I trusted my stuffed animals to guard
against the shapes I pictured in the hallway.
Now to keep out death I locked my door
and wedged a chair under the knob. I’d
still be there, curled up against nothing
if not for the TV—sudden inspiration—
so loud I wouldn’t hear other sounds,
so bright the killer would know just
where to find me, and it would be quick,
no long motionless wait for the next disaster.


Memye Curtis Tucker is the author of The Watchers (Hollis Summers Prize, Ohio U. Press), prizewinning chapbooks, and poems in Poetry Daily, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, The Georgia Review, Oxford American, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, Shidae Munhuck (KO), and Southern Review, among others. Recipient of multiple fellowships from MacDowell, VCCA, and the Georgia Council for the Arts and a former Senior Editor of Atlanta Review, she holds a PhD in English Literature and teaches poetry writing. “After Dark” will appear later in A Net to Hold the Wind, an Editor’s Choice Chapbook from Main Street Rag Publishers.

© 2019, Memye Curtis Tucker

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