Portrait of the Scream Queens, With Apples

Avra Margariti

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 
      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.