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Teddy Sutton always liked old books
He recited the funny poem he found
etched in the leathery folio in Grandma Sutton's attic
Down the ladder he came, his eyes bright
Opened Grandma's throat with a kitchen knife
"Odd child" whispered the neighbors

Many felt chills, heard murmurs, thought thoughts
They dismissed them as nerves, stress, an early fall
Hattie Kendall feeds her bridge club a pie made from
a stray cat. She giggles when no one realizes
Thomas Benson notices blemishes on his skin that
coalesce into swirls, symbols, warts, eyes
And Doyle Cooder's dog grows two extra tongues

Maggie Jacobsen chants hymns to murder during church
Ed Pryor burns down his house
Things get worse and worse, bit by bit
Obscured whispers from sewer grates, flocks of black wasps
A spreading fascination with bleak prophecy

Saturday night starts quiet
People start coming out in the street after dark
Ethel Powell eases her old bones onto the sidewalk
Nancy Blue and her kids speak in a guttural language as
the oldest Tellerton boy cuts out Ethel's heart
Everyone sings, howls, rages, shrieks
Ranting, chanting, moaning, crying
Red blood, red blood, blood, blood, blood

A great wind rises, the streetlamps die, our
chittering goes silent

Everyone waits