Beverly Marsh*

Once the dolls are tucked into the hay

stacked inside the barn out back, the girl holds

herself beneath the split rot stairwell

and hopes her father doesn’t find her. A foal

wrings his hands from behind the enclosure,

while the field mouse digs further into her needle-

thick den, hinging her breath against the chill

of an oncoming downpour. Doors are slamming

from inside the house, curtains drawn

then undrawn, the scent of ozone

escaping the closets. The wind is moaning

like a haunted animal, pressing its hands

against the cracks of the plywood walls. I’m trying

to help you, he says again. I’m trying to save us

from ourselves. Her mother is splayed

on the kitchen floor, four steps

from the porch, a minute’s sprint

from the barn. She is eleven, still

gripping the shotgun.

*After a character from the novel It by Steven King

headshot of Alexandria Peterson

Alexandria Peterson is attending Vanderbilt University as an MFA poetry candidate from Orlando, FL, and currently serves as poetry and social media editor for Nashville Review. She has other work forthcoming in Gulf Coast Journal and Frontier Poetry.