Poetry

—6660.222 Ghosts that haunt all the secondhand curiosities in antique stores and thrift shops: musty ghosts in the vintage dresses, moth-ghosts in the tailcoats, ghosts that haunt the cracked teacups,
the worn-soled boots, the rusted skeleton keys

JESSIE LYNN MCMAINS,
RUST BELT JESSIE’S TAXONOMY OF GHOSTS

My First Death—Susan Cossette

I heard my first death whispered— / behind my mother’s prematurely veined hands. / I saw my first death lurking at the bottom of my grandmother’s bedroom wastebasket, / buried under mounds of damp teary tissue.

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Two Poems—Avra Margariti

The queen awakes in pre-dawn’s syrup darkness, / breaks her fast with milk and honey, / dons her beekeeper regalia and makes for the apiary. / Born of necessity, she hides her body from human eyes / under linen tunics and wicker masks

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Three Poems—Julia Retkova

He cups a handful of my hair and looks surprised when it drips down from his hand in spirals of sea water. You’re walking far, far, beneath and /
it always burns to breath in crystallised salts. 

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Two Poems—Lucia Larsen

collapsing a thousand times over, on playgrounds, faking / an aneurysm for mourners, in basements, play-acting a / mummy in a sarcophagus of mould, waiting to be unearthed, / across graveyards, a mime rehearsing rigor mortis

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Three Poems—Olivia Hodgson

At four, a shot of birds breaking the night’s / shell. At five, your nose lifts to the gold-glint / behind the curtain; a chorus of dust / above sways in and out of existence. 

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A Boy Called Strawberry—Emilia Joan Hamra

Teeming with tender electricity, his scalp became a playground for her bitten nails. That’s when he told her about the ceremony. He’d learned it from a bearded man with a gospel name, who’d learned it from a boy called Strawberry. 

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a place—Vic Nogay

a place by the canal sells frozen custard. / you sit in an old canoe, / washed ashore decades before, / and lick your drips / while cicadas sing

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Buttons and Silk—Claudia Lundahl

The mouse is in the parlour sifting through a pile of vertebra, plucking out gold buttons and pieces of silk. As he finds them he ties the silk in knots, threads the buttons through and counts to one hundred with his eyes closed.

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Witches stuff moss into my cheeks, flush to the bone. In the slanted light you can/ imagine their death, but they are/ dying again when you run over a railway bridge with a Chinese lantern, dying again as a barn owl flies over a roundabout, silent arch over glowing tarmac.

SOPHIE DICKINSON, BROOK