The Vampire as Narcissist

Yes, the hair continues to grow after death—
even more so among the living dead.
Before a night out on the town,
he can't just go into a barber shop and say,
"Shave and a haircut, two bits."
(Even though he is old enough to remember
when those services only cost a quarter.)
So, at home, he passes on the electric razor
(besides, the power to the mansion
was shut off, past due years before);
instead, opting for the good, old-fashioned straightedge.
Trying to unearth his reflection in the mirror,
he draws blood
along with a full-throated scream.
Licking the blade clean,
drawing fresh blood from the tongue,
he drinks even deeper of the elixir of death.
No reason to go out now.
He can just stay home
and enjoy himself.

—Duane Ackerson

Duane Ackerson has won two short-poem Rhysling Awards (1978 & '79), as well as placing in SFPA's first annual short poem contest with a poem co-authored with his wife Cathy. His work has appeared in such places as Yankee, Rolling Stone, Strange Horizons, alba, The Christian Science Monitor, and various anthologies.