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.