Dancing with the Dead By Aaron Grierson


Dios mio! The crowd is large today,
amorphous tide, cacophonous rainbow
shuffle to the beat beneath candlelit vigil,
we honour the dead in rapturous celebration!

Someone catches my eye from across the hall
a sensual senorita whose swaying hips sashay
straight into my waiting arms, soft crimson fabric
of an exuberant traje de gitana, almost as bold
as her pallid lips, glowing whites of her eyes
which hold my attention as we fall into step.

The world stops turning, the music slows
as though this dance is my pinnacle, as
I feel a chill run my spine right into the ground,
Afloat without the anchor of her cold flesh.

A blink and I missed it, body numb,
caught in a glimmering gauze, ethereal as la luna
as though our lips met, and my soul was left behind!
I scream soundlessly, now watching my body sway,
shambling like a wet pita in her firm grasp, elongated
nails dig into flesh once mine, now my horror
as blood drips into my favourite shirt and I
can’t even wail like a ghost from a cartoon.

Battering the walls of my flesh proves pointless –
unable to prick even a hair from my head, I spin
dizzying, a thin veneer of the danza macabra,
insane misery the world is now wrought in.

Lost to time I feel an ebbing draw, magnetic,
irresistible a skull decoration dedicated to some
stranger’s bisabuela. It calls to me, like tickling
white noise I can’t itch – words all formless, a
river running into morose laughter, rising from
a ghastly, wrinkled visage, now before me.

The ebb grows stronger, sweeping my spirit
side to side – I struggle to resist, like a stone at sea
she draws me in with a homely as we whirl above the living,
shadows of our bodies below, I realize her plot, as
unwillingly I’m wed to the dead. Yawning, she opens her mouth,
serpentine, a distending, echoing void, inkier than Hell
but less pretentious, without ceremony, she rends
me end from end, cold teeth snuff out all that remains.



Aaron Grierson’s work often blends folk elements into society’s love of technology. He is a First Reader for Flash Fiction Online and former Senior Articles Editor at The Missing Slate. Always hungry for more literature, references and puns inevitably sneak into his musings.

Published 10/31/23

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