These poems by Joan McNerney are finalists of the Furious Gazelle’s Halloween contest. The contest’s winner will be announced Friday. View the rest of the finalists here.


Joan McNerney




Slides under door jambs
pouring through windows
painting my room black.


This evening was spent
watching old movies.
Song and dance actors
looping through gay,
improbable plots.


All my plates are put away,
cups hanging on hooks.
The towel is still moist.


I blow out cinnamon candles
wafting the air with spice.
Listening now to heat
sputtering and dogs
barking at winds.


Winter pummels skeletal
trees as the moon’s big
yellow eye haunts shadows.




There is a
witch living
on the corner
where the four
roads meet.


Her eye is
evil, her
nose crooked.



She lays down
the tarot
with wrinkled



Asks “do you wish
tea of wormwood
or henbane?”



She will enchant
your mind now
into fields of
wild roses.