Phillip Spotswood

What the Dead Know: Five Pieces of Dracula’s Soul

Phillip Spotswood

the heart
I found it still beating, soaking
in dust and old growth
as an alien sponge or
earth-born parasite.
I squeezed it close to my chest,
pressed in to hear it murmur
quieter than a dark star collapsing, that
it was ready to die.
 
the eye
How terrible, I thought, this eye
without a lens. With no way to block
sunlight, and no retreat into darkness.
What is the soul behind an unfiltered gaze?
I imagine a vibrating void on the cusp
of the moment before
sound.
I see my self
at the center and know
that I am cursed.
 
the ring
It cannot help but
signify eternity and this is
a cruel joke.
There is a red ruby
grafted like new skin,
garish and unwanted on
the gold band, as if
a new idea had been thrust
from the earth and scorched
by the sun.
 
the rib
I asked this piece of bone if
it knew that it was useless, curled into
itself like an infant dried
and forgotten in the corner.
As if in defiance it seemed to grow,
calcify and wrap around stale air:
to say look
to say here is where my body lies;
it is a lie, death.
 
the fang
Layers of enamel lain on top of
each other like tissue paper or
folds of time. How exquisite
it must have been
to sink this dagger into flesh,
to rent through layers of memory—
a flaming comet through the mesosphere.
Yes yes, the smooth curves say,
I remember the pull and suck
of blood, tart and lucid.
Yes yes, it urges, this
is life. 

PHILLIP SPOTSWOOD was born in Mobile, AL., into a family of nine children. He graduated from the University of Alabama in May 2013 with a degree in English and Creative Writing, and currently lives in Baton Rouge, LA. His work can be found in Outrageous Fortune and Dark Matter, as well as upcoming issues of Denver Syntax and Eunoia Review. Recently he paid for a drifting astronaut to be tattooed on his left forearm, and senses that the image will forever haunt his work. He is addicted to running in the dark.

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