Ghost Coming to Terms
It is highly likely that I am dead or, at least, differently alive. There are stories I keep telling myself— I left my face in an ashtray at a party, I folded up my genitals and mailed them in the wrong card, wrong address, not returned to sender. It is possible I am a very bad kind of fruit. It is possible that the anatomy dummy I was once handed has now been disassembled. Thieves. Who took him from me? I open cabinet after cabinet, convinced I’ll find an organ I can call my own. Here, Kidney, Kidney. A cat answers, Now-now, but that’s not exactly the same. From dust and sand on the floor, I look up at the picture window, the face of Jesus, saying: brevity, brevity. And it doesn’t hurt me at all. That’s how I know.
Medium after Trances
Every time I come back, I am a little different. Every time I get up from the river of sleep, I breathe differently, believe in wings, whine over stones like a dog who’s been told she’s been bad. Remind me tomorrow to tell you what I have done in a dream—who I killed, what I left un-cauterized, what nail shivered in the light where I left it for the next approaching foot, rust and rubble, the gray crow shuddering inside an apple tree— at least, I believe it was there— breathing with the tree, filling with bees, wasps— the stings that require the end of life, and those that go on and on.
Medium on the Sleeping Arrangements of the Dead
Where the dead sleep: in steel wool. In sailors’ woolen underwear. Inside timepieces that will not be wound. Alongside broken keys. Rats’ nests lined with horoscopes. Silk gloves too small for a grown daughter’s hand. Chimneys. Old elephant ear plants, turning yellow and brown creases against the side of a house. Beneath a toppled garden angel, wings pinning her back, hard into the ground.
Annah Browning lives in Chicago, where she recently received her Ph.D. in the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, Indiana Review, Glass Poetry and Midwestern Gothic, among others. She is poetry editor of Grimoire, a literary magazine of the dark arts.