Folk Horror

Dean Sobers

As I stalk down the leaf-swept
street, I begin a grin that bares some
teeth. Perhaps I’ll have this town for

Starting with the cafeteria: Every
week I order the Breakfast 3, and he
pre-empts me: “Sir, Number 3?” and
I’ll nod and shrug as if to say “you got


We can’t stay this way forever,
I think as he disposes with another
regular, so cordial and familiar.

As I open my mouth to speak I
abruptly stop, thinking I’ll listen,
let him anticipate my question, then
knock him right out of his rhythm by
choosing something different.

Shed some cold, debunking light.
The path cedes to the heather. We
have a little game and we play it, but
we can’t play it forever.
We can’t stay this way forever.
I can’t stay this way.

The man smiles and points blandly
at the order board. “Number 8?”
he asks, waiting to pencil down the

I take a shallow breath. “How did
you know that—?” I blurt.
“Because I know you,” he says
kindly, scribbling as I back off meekly,
and collapse into a plastic chair at a
nailed-down table, and wait.