Text and image by James Knight
She found the book at twilight in the silence of the forest. It was bound in red leather. When she opened it, the pages turned into moths and fluttered in drunken spirals, aspiring to the moon.
In Grandma’s garden are gnomes, roses, a lovingly mown lawn. But her greenhouse is home to a thousand desperate twisted things, gasping, blind.
She pauses before the door to the forbidden room. The apple-shaped doorknob is warm, smooth. In her other hand: a key like a snake's tongue.
Grandma sips a cup of tea. A broken wolf stares at her from the prison of a picture frame.
The curtains of her eyelids are the forest. Denser and denser into the heart, into the wet darkness, into the house of phantoms.
Grandma’s teeth are knives, hatchets, crenellations, the serrated canopy of the endless forest.
When she breaks the mirror she swoons into a long, restless sleep. Her lips turn to rose petals, her hair to snakes. Her sex becomes a seashell. Put it to your ear: listen to the mermaids murmuring in an ocean of blood.
Red roses proliferate in the Kingdom of the Wolf. Grandma’s skull is a cave. Inside, you’ll hear the voices of the dead.
Her heart is a mirror whose surface reflects the witch, an apple, a rose bush, a broken sword.
In Grandma’s eyes you’ll see a red moon, red shoes, secret flames, the howling storm. She shows her bleeding palms to the heavens.
Opening the door to room 13, she finds herself entering a candlelit bedroom. Her double is sitting at the dressing table, smiling at her own reflection.
In the Medusa coils of Grandma’s floral wallpaper: the statue of a wolf.
13An axe, a grin, a labyrinth of trees. The girl, now a woman, writes her name in blood on the mirror of the moon.
This poem belongs to the collection published as "Head Traumas" that you can buy here.