Allison Thorpe

Attack of the Crone Woman 


A pocket full of names we had for her—

hag, witch, scarecrow, she-devil, old bat—

but crone ruled, rolled the mouth joyously.

She was someone’s grandmother

or just a woman renting an upstairs flat.

No one cared.


She threw wooden clothespins

from her second story window

if our street play got too loud,

was lethal with her cane

if we rode our bicycles too close.


She wore a bright plastic flower

above her right ear, grey hair marshaled

into a strict bun, and faded

black dresses with lace collars

circled a withered chicken neck.

We told her off from behind the garage,

imitated her bent back and rigid shuffle,

tamed her ugly ways in our dreams.


One morning when we haunted curbs,

sharply arguing whose turn it was at go-cart,

we saw her come out on her upstairs porch,

her hair wet and knee-length loose.

Gently, she combed in the sun

to dry a silver waterfall, shimmering

in the glittered light, strands binding us

to her alluring web,

our mouths silenced by the silk

of so much beauty.




Slick warren of rock

Water with no conclusion


The old town quarry

Lurks your chary passage


Family leisure by day

Teenage taunt at night


The knowing boys

Bring their blankets


And urge your hesitancy

Into the moony depths


You leave your worries

Tucked with your underwear


Glide skin on downy skin

Loose the unexpected shudder


Your voice: one fluid echo

Such a beautiful drowning


Allison Thorpe is the author of one book of poetry and one chapbook.  Her work has appeared in a variety of journals including: Appalachian Heritage, Wind, Poem, The Milo Review, Connecticut River Review, The Journal of Kentucky Studies, Cold Mountain Review, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and many others.


Posted on July 7, 2014 .