Friday, April 3, 2015

Book of Skin / Poveglia by Sandy Hiss

Book of Skin

I have lived beyond a century
but I am no vampire, no unearthly being.
Mother abandoned me in an asylum
said not to return until the demons went away.
They remained, clutching my heart,
squeezing so tight until my blood ran cold.
The asylum donated me to science,
who in turn donated me to a bookbinder.
He was in dire need of parchment; 
my skin was favorable with dabs of sumac.
I have been touched by the gifted hands
of scientists, scholars, and curators.
The words that reside inside me
are not my own and never will be,
for what my story holds
is much too horrifying to comprehend.


In the 16th century, 
the Bubonic Plague 
swept its way across Europe.  
The island became a quarantine 
for the unwanted, 
their bodies discarded 
as if they were nothing more 
than insects and dust.

Hundreds of years later, 
an asylum was erected;
heads were drilled with holes
by a doctor who thought 
he was an angel
offering salvation and peace.
He thought he could fly to Heaven
and leapt from a tower into Hell.

Sandy Hiss writes poetry and fiction. Her first novel, a gothic fantasy, The Rosegiver, was republished in October 2017. Her paranormal novelette, The Haunting of Meredith, was published in  August 2017.  Sandy’s always been intrigued by haunted houses, ancient cemeteries, forests, gardens, and abandoned buildings. She currently resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. Sandy can be reached at her personal blog: or on Goodreads.