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The Haunts
          for Dorothea Lasky

Dorothea says my spirit animal is Dana Scully.
Is it weird thinking about your spirit animal
when your pants are around your ankles, tissues
bunched in your left hand even though
you’re left handed? I have been waiting to die
for some time, so Dorothea gives me her inner warrior,
she gives me her violets. There is sunrise
in my mind, everything stubbles. I miss the lack
of tumbleweeds in Tallahassee when I’m sleeping
in Mississippi. Monsters are scary, but not being
a monster is even scarier. Everything halos.
All thoughts are monsters, all thoughts end
in dirty couches. I’ve got a girl at home
with good hips. She’s got some lips, but let me
tell you about her hips. They light smoke on fire.
They built mountaintops & were pleased. They took
the line that was originally here & gave it a Pushcart.
Gave it an amusement park. Gave it a silhouette
with a pirouette. It’s Saturday.
I imagine every spaceship with a full tank of gas,
flying around cloning every woman I almost had sex with.
I vest my bullets to protect life from staying.
Storms are coming through Tampa, let me have you.
& that’s how I end my heart: let me have you the end.


It Was the Lungs
          to Owen Ashworth

I’ll never start a poem where we rob a bank & make it
out alive. You wouldn’t want it that way. Vs. Poem.
Vs. Guns Shaped as Stanza. If the bleeding didn’t come,
I might’ve been a father now, too. It’s how most of me goes.
We’re always sticking with loss when we start with loss.
My sister is dead but you didn’t know that.
She was so little when she quieted too much. She’s not far,
just a few miles down the same street. A little south.
A little more south. Seriously, you can stay on my street
& twelve minutes later—a body under soil, the same
last name. Similar fingernails. Your songs aren’t far
but they never go see her, either. It’s been so long.
I wonder if she knows time & how long it can last for most.
She never made it to solid foods, Valentine’s Day mailboxes
made out of empty shoeboxes laced with streamers,
but she was too young to know how to be hurt by a heart,
& that’s something. Her grave is no bigger than a shoebox.
I could be wearing her grave right now. Isn’t it sick
I thought that? The meds haven’t been working that well.
I’ll never finish a poem where we rob a bank & make it out alive.
My legs are longer so stay in the car. Stay right across
the street. Make sure the tank is full. Wear driving gloves—
I know how sweaty your hands get when you’re nervous.
Keep the graves off your feet. I’ll be out with bags heavier
than groceries. We won’t make it. It’s better that way.  


Gregory Sherl is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Monogamy Songs (Future Tense Books, 2012) and The Oregon Trail is the Oregon Trail (Mud Luscious Press, 2012). His poetry has appeared in The Rumpus, Columbia Poetry Review, Redactions Poetry & Poetics, The Los Angeles Review,and Poets.org. He is Poetry Editor of The Good Men Project, and currently lives in Oxford, Mississippi.