Enter the Ghost

by S. Yarberry

The roadkill-deer has its neck
slung back—nose to spine—
throat taut, the skin
unbroken, but barely.

I’d say it was swooning
aristocratically. Graceful—
balletic. When we first met,
you would text me:
u make me swoon. Of course,
I would think: u make me swan.
B/c? Why not? I revel
in false cognates—
An aesthetic bird, the swan.
Aggressive. Violent. Beautiful.
The soft hook of its neck
still as marble
in the autumn breeze. Romantic,
really. u make me swoon too—
We fall. The roads rouge.

The dead deer are everywhere—
as I drive home from up north.
Everything flat. The sky
pink as girlhood and purple
like an adult bruise. I’m overcome
with the desire to reach
my arms out and sing a pop
song into the crepuscular eve!
I make myself sad with how
sad I am. A deer and then another.
It’s not the deer I’m talking of,
but the gesture,
the way you’d make me fold.
Then the way you’d fold for me.
Our necks slinging back
in bed. We left
each other folded over.
It’s like our bodies
meant nothing and the world
just kept turning.

S. Yarberry is a trans poet and writer. Their poetry has appeared in Tin House, Indiana Review, The Offing, Berkeley Poetry Review, jubilat, The Boiler, Sixth Finch, Notre Dame Review, and Nat Brut, among others. Their other writings can be found in Bomb Magazine and Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly. S. has an MFA in poetry from Washington University in St. Louis where they now hold the Junior Teaching Fellowship in Poetry. They currently serve as the poetry editor of The Spectacle.