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257th Weekly Poetry Contest winner: Carnival of Ghosts

by Bruce Boston

by Bruce Boston & Marge Simon

Once each year,
just before sunset,
we gather at the club
to light candles
and sit on empty crates.

Our harsh laughter
spills into the alley
along with dusk.

Regret hangs like fog
above the raucous sounds,
a rush of sins
without redemption
from memory's grave.

Rupert was a patricide
who fueled a fortune
from his father's wealth.

He escaped the gallows
in life, but now
wears a hangman's knot
above his prison garb.

Gloriana was a full woman,
schooled to wed
a man of property,
chaste until a rich man
claimed and left
her in a single night.

Her failures
are waking dreams,
shards in a hall of mirrors,
sharp reflections
like the bright blade
she drew across her wrists.

No dignity in that.
Now she's one of us,
new to this profession
as we all were once.

In the dark fairground
the wheel turns,
filled with ghosts
from a hundred haunts
and centuries more.

The candles burn low.
We rise as one,
straighten our costumes,
disappear and reappear
in the yellow light
of Halloween night.

‚ÄčAppeared in Double Visions¬†(Dark Regions Press)

See all the entrants to 257th Weekly Poetry Contest