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The Vampire by Suzanna Fitzpatrick

The Vampire

sits watching by her window

knows the colour of my coat,

when I put the bins out, do the school run.

I turn my face to my children,

ignore her tapping on the glass

but can’t pretend I don’t see her in the doorway –

she has a stick, but moves fast,

trapdoor spider, popping out

seething with need, wheedling,

saying I’m her only friend

and she just wants milk fetching

or to know why her arm has pins and needles –

anything not to be ninety and alone –

except she isn’t alone, has carers, family,

and I invoke these charms, ward her off

with TV and telephone. I make her tea,

but she wants more, sucking greedily

on my wavering energy. So I chalk boundaries,

refuse to enter her domain. Furious,

she makes familiars of passers-by, their knocks

apologetic but summoning. Your neighbour…

and all because, just once, I let her in

when she stood at my threshold in her nightie –

fooled by the hot summer sun, her pleading.

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