Slender Man’s Arizona Visit

Jon Riccio is a PhD candidate and composition instructor at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers. His work has appeared in apt, Booth, Cleaver, Hawai’i Review, Switchback, The Volta, and Waxwing, among others. He received his MFA from the University of Arizona.

Slender Man’s Arizona Visit

Skinny ain’t what it used to be.
You’re probably expecting something more highfalutin,
or my Wisconsin-speak more pronounced,
where they stabbed in my name. Don’t much get

to the Dairy State like I ought to,
my junket filled. Being a Phoenician,
you’re probably safe from things that go meme

in the night, Joe Arpaio or a used
car salesman the worst thing you’ll see, broadband
and the notion we ran out of fear circa 2009,

the kind that could dethrone a man if you allow it.
A legend’s urban-ness stretches only so far;
take those X-rayers playing spot
the straight edge in the Milky Way,
the chasm between criers and their wolves
best bridged with a blade. Or how about
those clown sightings down South
if you buy the local claims—probably drunk

dialin’ after too many McDonald’s. What
can I say, grease paint’s good for murderabilia.
Don’t let my viral scare you; there’re emojis
who’ve incited worse than me. You Arizonans
chillax with your border, something taller’s on the way.

Granted, I ain’t
no slouch in the height department,
your next panic a bit of grizzled mixed
with estate—absurd to think a rumor
could advance someone as fakely as me.
From cryptids that trend to rhetoric that

casts relief, hearsay merits a skinny
flame when precepts go mainstream,
their adherents grappling with the collar
of so slender a truth.

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