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The Last Poem 
by Madison McSweeney 

Keep the books from the children -

They may want to read them

   the Librarian said, with the world-fearing concern

   she had learned

   in her years on the job

   watching far too many minds

   erupting with horrible thoughts, borrowed

   from those tomes;

Shut the windows -

There's darkness outside.


Lock the cabinets

Hide the folk tales with the poisons and the fetal pigs

   our dears will know a world

   with no fear.

   they will know flowers

   and fairies - the good kind;

   and boyish adventures controlled and quickly resolved

   with a minimum of risk.

Lock the doors -

A stranger may knock.


We will do all we can

To restrain the world from them

   they will not know pain,

   or death,

   until it comes for them

   in the flower garden

   and they will blink, for they do not recognize a skull and scythe

   and try to hand the Reaper a rose.

Disperse, darkness!

Until such time as you are too deep to see through.



About Madison 


Madison McSweeney is a Canadian author with an interest in the macabre and fantastic. Her poems have appeared in Rhythm & Bones: Dark Marrow, Cockroach Conservatory, and Bywords, and she has published horror and fantasy stories in outlets like American Gothic, Cabinet of Curiosities, and Zombie Punks F*ck Off. She lives in Ottawa with her family and her cat, blogs about music and genre fiction at, and celebrates Halloween year-round. 

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