Post-Obit Cautionary Tale

by G.O. Clark

We were told not to go into the cave,
parents strictly forbidding us,
signs warning beware.

Monsters were said to
dwell within its cold, damp walls;
maleficent, blood craving, and
patient as Death.

Double dares are
binding when you’re young and
foolish; the consequences
be damned.

On that rainy Fall night,
flashlights clutched in trembling
hands, bravado urging us forward,
the cave bid us welcome.

Back in town, the monthly
school board meeting droned on,
and beer taps at the local
bar flowed freely.

Our screams were
lost in the night, the smell
of shredded, tender flesh masked
by the pungent woods,

empty beds and
school desks come next
morning, triggering new fears
and wounded memories.

G. O. Clark’s writing has been published in Asimov’s, Analog, Space & Time, A Sea Of Alone: Poems For Alfred Hitchcock, Midnight Under The Big Top, Daily SF, HWA Poetry Showcase VI and many other publications. He’s the author of 15 poetry collections, the most recent, “Easy Travel To The Stars”, 2020. His second fiction collection, “Twist & Turns”, came out in 2016. He won the Asimov’s Readers Award for poetry in 2001, and was Stoker Award finalist in 2011. He’s retired, and lives in Davis, CA.

Published 7/16/20