What makes a woman a howling banshee?
The one you hear through
your bedroom’s locked window at midnight,
the tall woman,
her body wasted by grief,
gray cloak hanging limply on her slumped shoulders,
her green dress, once a rich velvet,
now covered in wispy silver cobwebs,
her dark eyes sunken and red with tears,
her pale skin a stranger to sunlight,
her red curly hair unwashed and tangled,
her thin lips just the entrance to a jagged cave
from which emerge guttural moans and shrieks.
You look outside and see her silhouette standing
dark and lonely on the hilltop,
battered by the wind.
Her cries are heartbreaking but terrifying too
because it’s not herself that she wails for,
but for you.
Karen Steiger (she/her) lives in Schaumburg, Illinois. She frequently posts on her blog, The Midlife Crisis Poet (www.themidlifecrisispoet.com), and her work has been published in The Wells Street Journal, Arsenika, The Pangolin Review, and Black Bough Poetry. Her poetry will soon appear in Kaleidotrope, Mineral Lit Mag, Rejection Letters, Ang(st), and Perhappened Mag.