I will strip you bare.


And I won’t stop at skin.

You can still hide a lot beneath skin.


And what about

this thin layer of muscle,

quivering and flexing

beneath my gaze?

That, too, must go.


And what of this strange cage

made of bones, curved

like sideways teeth

around your reality?

It must be opened.


And this nest of organs

covering you up —

what of them?

Surely you know

they must go as well.


It all must go.


I will keep removing layers

until the heart of you is exposed —

naked, bare —

pulsing out your truth

two fleshy beats at a time.


Annie Neugebauer is a novelist, short story author, and award-winning poet. She has work appearing in over fifty venues, including Black Static, Fireside, and Buzzy Mag. She’s an active member of the Horror Writers Association, webmaster for the Poetry Society of Texas, and a columnist for Writer Unboxed. You can visit her at www.AnnieNeugebauer.com.


  1. Beautiful.

  2. Powerful. Glad I read it in the daylight.

  3. Well done, Annie. It reminds me of the prolog of a novel I read last summer… shudders.

  4. It’s dark and pensive,I enjoy reading good literature. Thank you Annie.

  5. I know vampires are like, so passe, but that is exactly who I hear saying this words. *shiver* The language, the images–I LOVE it!


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