Neighborhood beauties competing for Best Scream, an apple red and rotund on each of our coiffed heads. We are making a film, we’re told, but not just any film: a reenactment of mythos, archetypal archery. Coils of rope secure our bodies to backyard apple trees, lip tint paints our mouths red like a target --Bullseye-- They’re all props, we’re told the apples, the arrows, us most of all --Don’t you girls know how to play pretend?-- The black eyes of the marksman flash jay and magpie, his hold assertive, like the bow was carved for him. How he shoots the apples from our heads, how he apologizes when he nicks our scalps but only barely, always belatedly after a smile which the camera operator assures us will be edited out of the final product. We scream louder; uncertain, yet too polite, too needy of underground fame and discount-store fortune to say anything. The arrows whoosh and whistle through crisp spring air and we work our throats raw --Welcome to the banshee banquet-- as if each scream might be our last.
Avra Margariti is a queer author, Greek sea monster, and Rhysling-nominated poet with a fondness for the dark and the darling. “The Saint of Witches”, Avra’s debut collection of horror poetry, is available from Weasel Press. You can find Avra on Twitter @avramargariti.