THE DARK SIDE by George Amabile

Featured Poem / Fall/Winter 2015



The air is taut with a hint of frosts
to come, but it’s hard to believe
we’ve already reached All Hallows Eve
again, the same paper ghosts

in the windows, and on so many porches
those toothy grins lit from inside –
iconic innocence disguised
as horror, like the small tribe that marches

house to house, dressed up to kill
in Devil mask and Pirate hat
chanting a customary threat,
harmless, but good enough to fill

their plastic Safeway bag with sweets
they’ll carry home and stash like wonder
-kinder raiders flush with plunder.
in another part of town, where the streets

are deserted and unlit, there are real
screams. A woman is raped, and cut,
left with her mouth taped shut,
her hands and feet bound with steel

wire, half dead in a parking lot.
And that’s not the only bad dream
that will release its actual demons
before the teeth of the children rot.


George Amabile has published ten books, has had work in over a hundred national
and international venues, including The New Yorker, Poetry (Chicago), American
Poetry Review, Botteghe Oscure, The Globe and Mail, The Penguin Book of Canadian
Verse, Saturday Night, Poetry Australia, Sur (Buenos Aires), Poetry Canada Review,
Canadian Literature and has won dozens of national and international prizes. His most
recent publications are a long poem, Dancing, With Mirrors (Porcupine’s Quill, 2011)
and Small Change (Fiction, Libros Libertad, 2011) both of which won Bressani Awards.