Viewer Discretion Advised


Bursting out of John Hurt's chest, an alien.
A virgin's stomach split like a pinata and spilling
scarlet-wrapped sweets which are actually intestines.
A stab to the neck, lathering red on the camera lens.
Running soldier unzipped by a sniper rifle.
A compost-faced zombie peeling off a teenager's skin
like a banana.

Credits roll. Lights come up.
Please put your rubbish in the bin.

You recoil from the brash daylight
when you leave the cinema.
Looks like it might rain, or perhaps just drizzle.
That evening you cook spaghetti for your family.
Squealing, your little girl sprays herself
opening a tin of chopped tomatoes.
Her pastel summer dress is crimson-smeared
and the red juice is on the blonde curls of her hair
and she giggles and wipes her mouth,
which makes it worse.
You frown; that will be difficult to wash out.

Later your eyes adjust to the grainy bedroom darkness.
Your wife rolls over next to you.
Her bare shoulder glows pale in the blueness.
The silence hums, and you are reminded of your daughter,
wearing the mess like bloody marigolds up each arm,
and the slash across her dress.
The tomatoes.

David N Rose