Shadows, Ghosts, and Throats, Oh My!

Celebrating Halloween with a spooky poem from our archives!

Here in the Bay Area the days are getting shorter, the air is crisper, and zombies are running wild in San Francisco. In celebration of Halloween, we at Fourteen Hills want to highlight a poem from our archives that embodies this seasonal, spooky mood. Few poems make our hair stand on end as much as Andrea Baker's "The Last Hour of Throats," originally published in Fourteen Hills Issue 13.1:


The town that cast the largest shadow

lived in its own dark grace

and elegance there concealed
the great who gathered about the war

though the rivers outside were blank and weary

and the storm doubled as regret

and everywhere the dead were in need
of boxing
even if

they were still alive


Whether Baker is describing a post-war ghost town or questioning what keeps us alive, her poem has a chilling effect. What elegance is there in reliving a complex past? Baker challenges readers to reevaluate who is alive and who is dead, and asks us to examine our own doubts and regrets. Or maybe—maybe these throats are a throwback to something macabre yet kitschy: vampires. Think about it: who else pays such close attention to the last hour of throats?

Baker's poems have been published all over since appearing in Fourteen Hills. You can see her work in Fence, Drunken Boat, Volt, The Denver Quarterly, and many other places. She was awarded the Poetry Society of America's Chapbook Award in 2004 for her first book, Gilda. Slope Books published her first full-length collection, Like Wind Loves a Window, in 2005. She is also a poetry editor of 3rd Bed Magazine.

If this hasn't quenched your thirst for Halloween poetry, let us know. What's your favorite ghost story? How would you describe a ghost town? And if you were a vampire, would you be watching for the last hour of throats?

Happy Haunting.

-Julia, Fourteen Hills Staff

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