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Nightmare at Elmer's Barn

by Bill Stinson

In old Coopers Mills where Elmer does lie

And black coated horses pulling Amish drive by,

Wind up Victrolas play 78s

And the one-eyed doll, Sally, dreams of yesterday’s dates.


Stiff on the shelf, she fights off a sneeze,

The cyclop'd automaton's burden of ease.

(Though when no one’s in earshot, she muzzles achoo,

And the spectacled skunk squeaks a noiseless bless you.)


She heeds no farewells, and she gives no fucks

For her station is fixed now: her mind run amok

With visions of sugar plums that never came ripe

And memories of playtime that ended in spite.


She yearns ‘til it hurts.

The children will pay

For leaving her cold,

A disheveled array

Of parts that are sooty,

And threadbare undressed,

Of unfocused eyeballs

And bad hair unblessed.


The other dolls know, and feel much the same

In this dorm of the zombified playthings of shame.


When the customers leave

She nods to her kind,

And up to the attic

They twitch and unwind.


The steamer trunks rise

To encircle the attic;

The rocking chairs flail

In a violent panic.


The dust that kicked up

Was a fermented brew,

A potion inhaled

By the lunatic crew.


This night never ends for the dolls of the barn,


God save us from all of their harm.

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