First, a glowing, disembodied head loomed
in T.V.’s grainy mist. It stared and spoke
of mysteries beyond mere human scope.
A candle guttered out. Someone was doomed.
That evening they first aired “The Hollow Man”
about a wraith who entered then consumed.
Elsewhere I was extracted, slapped and named.
A nurse logged vital signs in shaky hand.
Deep organ notes imbued that episode
of Lights Out with delectable foreboding
while terror’s thrill imprinted my encoding
like a whip passed down from the Marquis de Sade.
My small fists flailed at light’s invasive flash.
I shut my eyes. Darkness drifted down like ash.
Will Wells has published three full-length volumes of poetry, most recently Odd Lots, Scraps & Second-hand, Like New, which won the 2016 Grayson Books Poetry prize and was published in April 2017. Previously, his Unsettled Accounts won the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize and was published by Ohio Univ./Swallow Press in 2010. Wells has published his poems widely and has won Ohio Arts Council Individual Artistic Excellence grants in poetry twice (most recently 2016) and has served as a poetry fellow at various writers’ conferences including Sewanee, Bread Loaf, Wesleyan and West Chester University Poetry Conference (4 times). BTW, Lights Out was an early radio and television horror program that launched the careers of writers such as Rod Serling and Gene Roddenbery.