Poetry

Secret Santa

I didn’t know for sure
until last Christmas Eve,
when earth and sky
shared the eerie twilight blues
and all the people seemed to glow
with rosy cheeks in
soft bright sweaters.

I was wearing
that tired black dress,
looking down at my children
and up to their father,
dressed up for the kids
as reward for being good.

They cheered
when they saw him,
Santa! Santa! Santa!

But maybe he is
too good of an actor
or not good enough,
because when I saw him
in that red costume
and white beard,
I realized what I was missing.

That night he was
a different man,
or at least
different enough
from the one I knew.

Here was a happy guy
the giving type
always kind
not afraid of a few drinks.

He was everything
my husband wasn’t.

And that was when I knew.

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Essay

Yes Virginia, There Is A Cthulhu

Dear Editor,

I am 8 years old. Some of my friends say there is no Cthulhu. Papa says, ‘If you see it in The Arkham Review, it’s so.’ Please tell me the truth; is there a Cthulhu?

-Virginia Olmsted
115 W. 95th st.
Arkham, MA.

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe in anything except what they can see. They think that nothing can exist which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect compared to the boundless world about him and the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Cthulhu. He exists as certainly as the stars, the seas, and the infinite exist. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Cthulhu! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.

Not believe in Cthulhu! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the coastlines and volcanic islands on Christmas Eve to catch Cthulhu, but even if they did not see him, what would that prove? Nobody sees Cthulhu. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the horrors there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man could tear apart. Only fear, fancy, madness, and obsession, can push aside that curtain and view the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in this world, there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Cthulhu! Thank God! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to destroy the heart of childhood.

Merry Christmas Virginia,

Archibald Gilman
The Arkham Review
919 NE Wilbur Dr.
Arkham, MA.

Based on the “Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus” letters published in The New York Sun in 1897, by the real eight year old Virginia O’Hanlon and newspaper reporter Francis Pharcellus Church.

Artwork by Les Edwards

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