Three Poems|Shana Ross



I went out early

ahead of the rain


this will motivate me

to run faster

to beat the storm home

I found myself


on the trails

this weather

is not for the faint-hearted

the air swirls

warm and cold

the sky dark


coming towards us

and I’m running, running

to hear my own footbeats

instead of my heart

beating fast

when I am still.





No, ghosts are what you dig up, solid and lumpy and grown

to their own design.  Whisper incomplete secrets into the opening

of a burl and wait – until the chafing from the bark has healed


on your cheek and at least three rains.  Search where you do not expect

anything to be underground – here, it’s all connected

the way we grasp a single root & shudder as it twitches and swells.


Ghosts lie there like potatoes.  You must unearth them without tools

save your own hands.  Otherwise, left long enough, their heart wrinkles,

feeds sprout pushing into the air to become perennial


haunts bearing elderflowers, and, if pollinated, berries

the juice wine-dark and collected, reduced by the careless

into cyanide.  The philosophy professor sickened herself


in just such a manner, though she should have known better.

We only say that because she is well-versed in the classics.

She and I have collected prestige to nest like magpies stealing tin


bits from the shoulder of the highway, twisted scraps but

shiny – precious & sharp & prophetic – manifest in this world, but only

if you know how to scry.  I keep my ghosts in the pockets


of winter coats, with a ten-dollar bill and loose change that

I will find after a summer in the closet and think I am

lucky & rich and until then the extra weight will not keep


tugging at me like grief.  In the absence

of an answer, I keep carrying it around. The sun, oh the sun,

rising again and burning off the fog is what haunts me now.




Good Girl

after Molly Peacock


Carbon date the sandbox of boys interrupted.

The darkness inflates in the smoke, the stakes

rising high enough to look water wet, slick


with the blue of song. One of the following statements

is true. Say lyrics, you.  The pulse pressure is meant

for discovery.  Dancing.  We find morning and names,


meaning: here is the definition, your head up, as birds

count the relief of daybreak with chirps like your own.

Pleas now. Please. Be good or someone like you.  Then


he knows her as lips and stiffness, her mouth a high

hillsong in contempt of expectation, her confidence

thickening the air, the way a mother stamps discord


down. Find power in this proxy, the both of them.

What do you recall of the need to calm down?  I lay

dying.  America is written in bodies – variable entanglements,


severe expression written in people – every dichotomy

obscured by unfortunate souls. Search for a character

horned and hooded.  Blue.  A supposition in hindsight:


her mouth was news.  Was the same.  Nearer to me

in both space and time, I wander by the bay in a sentence.

Music locks and lashes and runs around me, confusing


the border of my skin, betraying it.  Pattern happens

for a reason.  In memories, both characters and eternity

demand meaning, their hunger an epidemic you can market.


She, in my memories, looks just like you, if you were ever

afraid of the dark.  God who is a space held, please: turn

wind to azure hostage in the air, and with a word make


the sea present in all space.  Two souls look like the bodies

that hit the floor: of the tent, in the woods, in the night, barely

cloaked by canvas.  Rhymes up and vanished – a discharge


position of speech.  Hands slice time and electrons amplify

the reconnection. Say something, you. My heart beats

with no clarification. I hedge promises, going home and away.


Photo by Danny Lines on Unsplash



Shana Ross bought her first computer working the graveyard shift in a windchime factory, then spent a good while authoring a stable life before finally turning her attention to the page in 2018. Her work has appeared in Chautauqua Journal, Ruminate, Bowery Gothic, Kissing Dynamite, Writers Resist and more. She is the recipient of a 2019 Parent-Writer Fellowship to Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing, and serves as an editor for Luna Station Quarterly.

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