Are they Martians or devils?

(Recollection of Mars Attacks bubble gum cards)



The dark only has glowing eyes in cheap novels and bubble gum cards.

I keep telling myself this as a climb the rickety stairs to the attic.

Iím 12 years old and know the cards I bought arenít real.

No Martians have invaded earth.

No ray guns have melted the Presidentís brain.

Still I see the eyes, staring at me like dull-watted green light bulbs, me wishing my grandfather was a little less cheap so as to install brighter bulbs on each landing to illuminate the way.

I keep thinking of my mother locked in the mental institution and wonder if I will join her soon.

I keep thinking of Sue Brett next door and how I feel when she leaves her curtains open and I watch her slowly undress.

I am convinced my visions are part of some prelude for me going to hell.

And I think the eyes are devils not Martians, so that each step up becomes an act of increasing courage, the old wood of the ancient stairs creaking under my feet as if echoing my pain.

I wonder if my grandmother will see the stain on my underwear when she does my laundry.

I wonder if the Martians or devils will melt my brain the way they did the Presidentís.

I wonder if Sue will leave the curtain open again -- and if I am foolish enough do again when I already did.


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