MIDNIGHT COMES EARLY by Marcie Lynn Tentchoff

MIDNIGHT COMES EARLY by Marcie Lynn Tentchoff

Marcie Lynn Tentchoff lives on the west coast of Canada, in a forest
of brambles and evergreens far too densely tangled to form the
setting for any but the darkest of fairy tales. She writes poetry and
stories that tiptoe worriedly along the border of speculation and
horror, and is an active member of both the Science Fiction & Fantasy
Poetry Association and the Horror Writers Association. Marcie is an
Aurora Award winner, and her work has been either nominated, short,
or long-listed for Stoker, Rhysling, and British Fantasy awards. She
is very much involved in middle grade and YA media, and edits
Spaceports & Spidersilk, a magazine aimed at readers from 8-9 up to
(and past!) 89. When she is not involved with the practice of placing
and editing words on a page, she teaches creative writing and acting
for a performing arts studio. Here's a sample of her work:

 

Bailey’s Bear
Bailey’s bear
was won at
her school carnival.
Daddy threw darts
to hit balloons,
over and over,
till Mrs. Stein,
who taught third grade,
winked and laughed,
and handed him down
to Bailey’s arms.
Bailey’s bear
is brown and gold,
with soft felt ears
and button eyes.
He’s stuffed
with all the secrets
Bailey whispers,
all the dreams
she’s scared to claim
when grownups hear...
and polyester.
Bailey’s bear
was there
when Kylie Jones
was mean and
called her names,
when Bailey
wiped out on her bike
and skinned her knee,
then some months later,
when full Midnight struck,
and when it stayed.
Bailey’s bear
watched when
her mother
first walked past
in pitch black clothes
and did not know her,
and when her father,
darts forgotten,
called Bailey by
a name that
was not hers.

Bailey’s bear,
as all bears do,
heard her whispers,
and sopped her tears
against his plush,
but as the Midnight Men
kept gliding through
the fear-filled streets,
his stillness changed;
he hugged her close
and whispered back.
Bailey’s bear
comforts her,
makes sure she’s fed,
takes her for walks,
and strains the
putrid pablum
of the Masters’ lessons
through the filter of
his fluff-stuffed brain,
then, when she is
tucked in, safe asleep…
Bailey’s bear
sheds his
daytime form,
and grows, and growls,
and sharpens his
red-dappled claws
on paving stones,
then licks his
stitched-on lips,
and lumbers off
to hunt her foes.

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