Remembering a Romanian Princess by Nicole Michaels

Remembering a Romanian Princess

My friend is summer help come to America on a work visa,
our nightly visits, something I look forward to. I am getting an education
on witches and the supernatural and on this particular
snowy night, we are closing the store, have vampires on the brain.
Rebeca makes living with vampires sound like living with a year-round
chance of snow or grizzly bears:
Wear extra layers and travel with a full tank of gas, bear spray.
Watch your six.
Rebeca has the kind of storied beauty that villains surely prize—
pale skin and willowy limbs, wide set eyes and full lips.
Espresso curls frame her face where she squeezes a mop in the bucket.
When you’re raised near the actual Transylvania,
she explains,
moving the mop to the floor, swishing,
you make room for vampires in your imagination
and also in your plans.
Use common sense,
take precautions.
Rebeca’s voice is Slavic chocolate,
melting under fluorescent lights.
The voice of a seance,
ancient woods.
So, no carriage rides late at night?
I move a chair,
upend it to a table.
Rebeca grins and her canines show.
She cuts her eyes my way.
Somewhere, a wolf howls, immortal.
Putin talks of nukes.

by Nicole Michaels

Editor’s Note: Monsters always hide in the unexpected places.

Photograph by Christine Klocek-Lim