First, turn on the lights.
Ghosts drift toward shadows.
Use the sin of omission as if
it was a life raft, and you can’t
swim. I can swim, of course.
As a child I swam in tanks,
throwing rocks before getting
into the water to scatter the snakes
while my mother doled out advice
like, If you fall out of a boat, float.
You can float forever. I never learned
how to float, always defaulting to treading
water. You can do that for a long time.
Michelle Brooks has published a collection of poetry, Make Yourself Small, (Backwaters Press), and a novella, Dead Girl, Live Boy, (Storylandia Press). She just completed a book of essays titled Second Day Reported. She has published writing and photography in Alaska Quarterly Review, Threepenny Review, Hotel Amerika, Iowa Review, and elsewhere. Her poetry collection, Flamethrower, will be published by Latte Press in 2019. Originally from Mineral Wells, Texas, she has spent much of her adult life in Detroit.