2023 Women in Horror Month Poetry Winners

TW: The following pieces contain gore and sexual violence.

1st Place

Compost by Laura Harmon

I’m afraid of soil, because I saw him
smear it on her face.
and in her mouth.
and down her throat until she choked, tears welling.
before the eyes too were covered in earth.

I’m afraid of trees, because I imagined them
growing from the dirt he forced into her stomach.
sprouting leaves in her lungs.
snaking roots through her body.
mulching heart and soul into hollow mush.

I’m afraid of him, because he did not leave
our filthy house of mud.
where the sapling was born.
and he acted like a gardener.
as if I was fertile ground too.

2nd Place

Do You Ever Fantasize About Being Killed? by Alexandra Polinsky

In the Moe’s Southwest Grill parking lot

at 9:50 PM in Worcester, Massachusetts

I am clutching my keys like they are knives,

white knuckled and half-mad with moonlight

Illuminating a man ten feet behind me who

might be following me to my car. I think

about how I didn’t buy pepper

spray the other day as he closes

the distance between us I can feel my heart beating in my ears I stop breathing and I think

This is it, I’m going to get fucking killed by some

white guy with a trans girl fetish and they’ll

find my head behind the dumpster with all the beans and the pork and the slaughtered remains of roadkilled squirrels and my head will be there blankly staring at the gray New England sky as black birds circle overhead before they pluck out my eyeballs and gorge themselves on my fleshy bits that haven’t been torn apart yet…

And that will be the end of Ally Flaks, a stupid stupid girl who thought

she would make it as a poet and could walk around the city at night with no self-protection. I will die horribly painfully for no reason in a society that doesn’t care about trans lives ending abruptly and young I will become another unremarkable statistic, the definition of another mark on a page.

How long will it take them to find my body?

Will they realize I’m missing first?

God I just hope it’s quick I never wanted

to die slow and disgraced like a pig I just

hope before I die he





I’ll haunt him forever I sweartogod I sweartogod if

I make it out of this I’m buying that pink pepper spray and I’m gonna call my mom and tell her I love her even though she hates me goddamnit goddamnit goddamnit goddamnit…

When the man brushes past me without so

much as a backwards glance I inadvertently gasp with relief. The moment has passed and I am once again reminded of how fragile our lives are, how they hang by a spider’s thread sometimes. The next day I buy a pink bottle of mace and hang it on my keys waiting for the day when I need to use it, maybe the next time I decide to get a burrito by myself late at night.

3rd Place

Beloved one By Aster Mehigan

You and your heart twist something within me.
You, dichotomy, haunt more than any spirit.
You are a wildfire that never dies,
You are blood stains that won’t wash out,
You are bone shards that refuse to mend, and
You are nausea that won’t cease, but
You swayed so gently with that sickness.
You, honeytrap, cupped my cheek so sweetly and
You made me feel loved.
You watched and listened and touched and spoke. Oh,
You spoke.
You and your words, your words, your beautiful empty words. You made me your toy, your gentle doll,
You made me so small, but I let you. I wanted you to.
You used eyes as mirrors, I Echo to your Narcissus, but at least You were looking at me.
You could do all you wanted, because at last
You brought me back to life. But a life
You would rather take than protect. Resent than adore.
You burn and break what won’t serve you. Everything must serve you. You and your tongue slaughter the misfits, blood and bodies at your feet, and You grin. I want to run, need to run, but cannot.
You won’t ever leave me alone. (I don’t want you to.)
You do nothing but abandon me. (Come back)
You need to get far away. (Stay. Please, I want to stay with-) You.
You. You. You.
You break something in me.
You, vile creature, held me close. Closer than anyone had. Never close enough. You made me love you, miss you, and I hate
You for it.

Honorable Mention

The Horror Writer by Madeline Wissler

I shook his hand

And the agreement was sealed

He took my soul

A deal is a deal

He promised me money

He promised me fame

He’s giving me nightmares to turn into stories

But his deception proved to just be another game

Another story of a woman selling herself for glory

But I don’t have time to overthink

For these nightmares trap me in my sleep

But in exchange I am able to take to paper ink

Write each line, each chapter

Each book is a best seller

Of harrowing tales that will keep my readers awake

But shhhh don’t tell or

The deal will be broken and I will be whisked away

Never to be seen again

But I trust you with my secret

Because other than the Devil, you’re my only friend