Challenger Logo by Alan White   A Science Fiction Fanzine   Winter 2005-6



Mike Estabrook

bony specters rose
up from smoldering splintered coffins
made of black ancient wood

specters gray, shimmering with
shrouded faces, misshapen heads,
soundless in the wispy mists

thick dull bleary-edged apparitions
floating listlessly through swirling
spaces in the swelling smoking night

slick cracked glass specters and me
me alone, pressed helpless against
the cold windowpane, staring
confused and needing to know


I hate hotel bathrooms because
it never fails that they bristle with
a combination of mirrors enabling you, nay,
encouraging you,
to view, and always suddenly
and unprepared, which is to say not on purpose,
the top or back of your innocent head.
And the top of my head is not a pleasant sight.
Residing thereupon right in the middle is one
of those scruffy bare patches, surrounded
by hair, a bald island in a sea
of dirty brown and gray. The problem is
I forget it is there, forget it presents
such an ugly landscape.
I can never see it, of course, unless someone
takes a picture of me from behind
or I’m in a fucking hotel bathroom and happen
to look over and wham!!! there it is,
clear and bright as a supernova, sprung
on me again, surprise!!! look
at me and how old and unattractive
I have become. Fucking hotel bathrooms!
Next time I’m going to pretend
I’m a vampire and cover up all
the evil mirrors waiting to ambush me
and make me cringe.


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