In the back of your mom’s mini-van,
you snort lines of moon dust off the surface of an iPhone.
After, you climb atop the roof and ride
with feet planted like you gonna fly.
Then you fly. You laugh.
We wear reckless well.
After, we hit up the supermarket parking lot.
The hometown Bi-Lo ain’t never
witnessed chaos like us. I say,
my lips hurt, and you pocket chapstick,
the fancy kind. Got real good
making shit just disappear.

After, we dare each other to creep
into the haunted house.
You become the ghost story
the neighborhood kids tell.
You say, you’re dying to get away.

After, your mama wants
to kiss you on the mouth before the funeral,
but there ain’t no mouth no more.
Got real good making shit just disappear.
After, your sister cries about how the police
won’t let y’all keep the sawed-off shotgun,
the weapon passed down from your grandpapa
but not the only inheritance.
Depression too, an heirloom for which you never asked.
After, I do not return home often. Seems like the right
thing, to leave all this dust behind, cause we were
always dying to get away.
After, I write you a poem and you,
still dead, do not hear me. After,
I paint you more saint than sinner.
After, the entire town becomes graveyard.
Every memory both an exorcism and resurrection.
After, I learn
I am haunted by good ghosts too.

 

DEREK BERRY is the author of the forthcoming poetry chapbooks Good Ghost: Alive & Intact (PRA Publishing 2018) & Skinny Dipping with Strangers (2013), as well as the novel Heathens and Liars of Lickskillet County (PRA Publishing, 2016). Their previous work has appeared or is forthcoming in Glint Journal, Lemonstar Magazine, Rabid Oak, RiverSedge, and other journals. They are the co-founder of literary non-profit The Unspoken Word. They are the editor of Good Juju Review and co-host of the creative writing podcast Contribute Your Verse.