A Haunting (Woman, Body)
His death came first as an aching in her molars, then a numbness in her sinuses, then, finally, a filling up of her dreams with something warm and sharp and spit-pink.
A room full of flowers, a folded American Flag, an old black and white photo of him smiling in his uniform, a body sloshing with mucus and creek water: these were the objects by which the death was confirmed—the hooks that, one by one, pinned themselves into the baked pines of Texas, until he was, at last, folded into its soil.
His haunting, then, came as a surprise to everyone but her. She knew better. She had been the first to hold the body, fish-heavy and steaming. Went inside and emptied his pills into the kitchen sink. She did not need to grieve, only wait.
A Haunting (Drowning)
Drowning is the most beautiful
death. Last breath arcing out of the spine
A Haunting (Woman, Resurrection)
Bodies muscle out of the creek bed,
bloated, luminous, sweating out hooks
and fish oil.
They crowd into storm drains,
push their faces out of the faucets.
“I don’t want them in my house.”
“Get them out of my house.”
The only difference
between haunting and resurrection
is the presence of the body.
This is both.
“If you could call to him, would you?”
“I would feed him eel and salmon.
I would scrape the algae from his hair.”
A Haunting (Apology)
clamor of beached whales is known
to lead others into shallow water.
A Haunting (Boy, Whiskey)
Death is an emptying,
drowning, a slow
filling up, a folding inwards.
“It wouldn’t be hard.
A warm bath
and a bottle of bourbon.
Blood billowing out of the wrists
I ‘m pouring Jim Beam down the sink.
I’m hiding beer cans.
He’s calling for water
and spitting into the trash.
At 3:00 I wake suddenly
and kneel beside him.
Brace my hands against his back
to make sure he is still breathing.
Swell of rib,
popping like bombs against my palms.
Muscles aching towards morning.
A Haunting (Bodies, an Offering)
Drowning is a meeting
of two bodies. Body (liver,
sternum, artery) meeting body (water).
She comes to him wrapped in the wet tangle
of her lungs. Bronchi, trachea,
alveoli like pink grapes.
“This is what bring.
This is all I can offer.”
Self destruction is a just another form
of masturbation; manipulations
of the body.
In this way, she forgives herself.
A Haunting (Boy, Exorcism)
Her death was a dense oil into which he slipped and swallowed and waited among the detritus which sank with him into that dizzying heat or was sent, but he did not pity, nor grieve—
—like the first night he brought a girl to his bed and could not sleep nor meet her eyes the next morning, but quieted his breathing during the night, which was the only kindness he could offer; that is to say, this is a story about bodies, bodies sinking, bodies lying, bodies steaming off his cups of coffee, bodies flickering in the lights of the television, bodies darkening the skin under his eyes, foaming in the phlegm he spits up, glittering in the cans of Coors, the pots of rice. When the time came at last for him to shed her body, it was nothing more than a filling up, a folding in.