Spooky Town

Annelyse Gelman

They scare me, the resin casts of men

in flannel shirts and jeans, feet webbed, unfeeling—
the light that glances off the eyes, the knees


wedded to the plastic grass they kneel in.

It scares me: the grass is the kneeling

with a new coat of paint. Everything is everything


but shouldn’t be. No wonder the men scream
to be let out, no wonder I’m a spooky town
and everything in me is trapped there, cast


and pacing the cage—not of its own making

but part and parcel, notwithstanding, of the pacing.

It scares me, the hand that does what hands


do: waiting, not without impatience, in the candy,
the hand that comes alive when you touch it

with your hand. Spooky town, spooky


citizen. And didn’t they cut it off, the scientists,
the dog’s head? And didn’t the blood pump
through the machine, like the machine was


a body? Don’t go in that house, we scream, that house

is me. It’s scary. And didn’t they eat the candy?

And couldn’t the dog still, notwithstanding, see?


Annelyse Gelman’s work has appeared in The Awl, The New Yorker, Verse Daily, the PEN Poetry Series, and elsewhere, and she is the author of the poetry collection Everyone I Love Is a Stranger to Someone (2014).