BY Brian D. Morrison

Consider the trees’

shade as curtains,
thin shadows 

that light has
pocketed. Consider 

your skin become
aware of itself, 

soft as loam from so
many washings

of so many snappings. 
Consider the cut 

of opposite bodies
inside a body, 

limbs and leaves
in rot and falling. 

Consider a sun content
with a hot, flat sky 

that doesn’t give a damn
about your sweat, 

about what dies, what leaks
to the root. Consider 

the darker water,
the space that wants

to eat you. Space
you’ve given a mouth.

Stranger, Because You Flinch

I’ve tied you to a chair because the chair is, 
at the moment, at rest. 

                    Watch, settle. We’re together if we’re
meant to be, but the ghosts, Stranger, 

          are deeper here. The strings that hang them hold
way down. All I’ve needed is peace 

from your arms, but your arms have shied. No, 
not yet: I cannot allow you 

your fussing; our quiver isn’t finished.
                    Are you warm enough? If fear, then fire—

we know this. And here, all drench
                              is wasted. Not for us. Here, 

there is kindling and matchstick, 
                    sulfur ready to rise. Not one lip of wet

          to taste. Listen closely, these ghosts
have eyes. With me now, 

relax; all we have is our depth—
                    the smoke wet in our mouths, yes? I promise: 

you struggle, I’ll strike. Shiver, will you, 
                              once? The strings I’ve anchored 

will not sever—these ghosts know fire
                                        only by the fuss.


Ghost Ocean


Brian D. Morrison is an Event Coordinator for Slash Pine Press and an Instructor of English at the University of Alabama. His work has recently been published in Margie, Fourteen Hills, and Cider Press Review, among others.