By Emily Kingery

Featured Image: Ghost Crossing by Ellery Pollard

The Ghost buys me a cocktail
the color of Barbie’s dream house,
the taste of the well. He shrieks

and stakes a tiara in my hair.
I am laden in plastic and ask
where he came from. He says

Barbie’s dream house. It’s time
for karaoke. Do you remember
high school, the back of the car

and your aching lips, rewinding
the tapes? He tucks my loose hair
and his laugh is my favorite

from the dead. Ghost, I tell him,
let’s smoke. He slides two cigarettes
from his sleeve. I laugh like a rabbit

or scarves will follow, but he says
be serious. I unstrap my stilettos.
I stand barefoot in the lot and

he steals my half-gone Ring Pop
for his buttonhole, says dance
with me. He says dance with me,

bitch, and my blood is vodka,
and the white-bright music is his
hand at my back and my throat

opens to sing. But it’s time to close.
He flickers. He leaves an injury
the color of an undead wound

and I lick it like a paw. I snarl
in the dream-pink vestibule, tear
the tulle from my head for a nest.

Emily Kingery’s work appears widely in journals, including Birdcoat Quarterly, GASHER, Midwest Review, Quarter After Eight, Sidereal, and Trampoline, among others, and she has been the recipient of several honors in poetry and prose as well as a chapbook finalist at Small Harbor Review and Thirty West Publishing House. She teaches English at a small university in Iowa and serves on the Board of Directors at the Midwest Writing Center, a non-profit organization that supports writers in the Quad Cities community (

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