Nightmare Magazine




much to be mourned

While jogging in the woods, I was thinking about a past relationship, attempting to locate the first warning sign that it wasn’t going to end well. I came across a lake, and looking at the water, this awful memory resurfaced. I wrote the poem on the trail, expecting to heavily revise it, but something about the memory, without any exaggerations or literary illusions, seemed more unsettling.


glass lakes
your mosquito blades
slice away at my reflection

I heave a nearby stone
into the mess
let the rippling tides
shatter you

doubling the action
of when you lifted that potted cauldron
and bashed the seizing house mouse
to death

the sight of it
separated from its brains
brought you to tears

I didn’t want to do that
you repeated
fleeing the crime scene
leaving me with the body

my body
it was my kill
twitching helplessly
I asked you to put it out of its misery
when my catch and release turned south

and you did it
without more than a single plead
to end the cruelty of its fate

I knew then
holding onto you
as you shook
as we writhed with guilt
as I stared at my tired face
in the bathroom mirror over your shoulder
the smell of copper fresh in my nostrils
from when I tried to scrub its remains off
the stained concrete

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Corey Niles

Corey Niles was born and raised in the Rust Belt, where he garnered his love of horror. When he isn’t advising college students, he enjoys binge-watching horror movies and traveling to hoard American history in his cheeks like a chipmunk. He hasn’t met a creepy, isolated hiking trail that he hasn’t liked. In his spare time, he nurses his caffeine addiction and spoils his fluffy house cat, Alexander.

His recent and forthcoming publications include “the interloper” in Chlorophobia: An Eco-Horror Anthology, “What Lurks in These Woods” in Pink Triangle Rhapsody, and “the sea naiad” in The Literary Hatchet. His debut queer horror novel, Blood & Dirt, will be published by NineStar Press later this year.