Stephanie Goehring's first chapbook, This Room Has a Ghost, is
forthcoming from dancing girl press. When she's not writing poems
(and sometimes when she is), she likes to pretend she's a painter.

No. 15

In the dream with the stillborn ghost,
the chicken never crosses the road.
I'm trying to get out of my mother's car
but it's parked too close to my father's truck;
I'm left with one foot pinned by the door.
In the dream you've heard this all before.
I lick your teeth; each one turns over
out of order, spells oh, spells oh I,
spells other side.

When Disappearing

Walking home you can't stop talking,
saying pigeon, parking lot, pulmonary.
In every dream you can't breathe
without breathing enough for two,
your chest all balloons, small children
screaming. Walking home you can't stop
saying microphone, misanthrope, moon.
You woke this morning immediately sad
for a brand new reason. Walking home
wind chimes somehow chime
Moonlight Sonata, Happy Birthday,
the song you sing when terrified,
the song you sing when disappearing.
In every dream you put your teeth inside
the mailbox where you tried to leave
your hands until one was gone
and the other had no way
to sever itself from the bone. Walking home
you can't stop saying nonsense,
neuron, nobody, nectarine.


This is what happens when, asleep,
the word you keep grinding between your teeth
is sugar: You start asking neighbors for a cup
of gasoline; fish to fill your lungs, aquariums; empty drawers
you can use to house your holey clothes;
a blind-drunk date who won't ask questions
about what you don't remember most, who
will call you not your name but operator,
the name of his only childhood friend,
which is better than being called you,
babe, honey, sweetheart, sugar.

Game Show

Behind door number three is a door
with three locks. You've got two hands,
no keys, a mouth like a bent paperclip,
not the one you used to bite to avoid
your nails; the one you used to break
into your lover's diary to write about
how much he missed you. Each lock
tastes like door number two, its hallways
lined with wanted posters. You want
to make your way inside, figure out
why door number one opened to a room
full of windows stacked on the floor.

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