I am afraid of ghosts.
I found too many when I picked apart my bloodline
saw them smiling back.
called it a haunting.
every spooky ghost house
got a gnarled family tree in the backyard.
mine is always bleeding,
like in that movie that one time.
we share the same veins.
tree is “sick” like “dope”
“dope” like “pills”
“pills” like I couldn’t swallow them down,
afraid I’d choke
can hardly breathe as it is.
too much dust crowding my attic.
old bones. damp wood.
blood test said I’m allergic to mold.
Rotted branches. Roots like my hair in summer.
I tell the therapist I’m anxious,
been grinding my teeth too much at night,
by the full moon I’m only dust.
been seeing shadows again
yes, they move
I’d worry more if they didn’t,
I call my mother every day to make sure
the family is exactly where I left them.
Usually they are.
If only ‘cause they ain’t moving anymore.
Now you see why I worry?
This is how much the shadows love me,
enough to keep me up at night with their company
Better than if they still. still. still.
People be saying black girls are magic.
Not sure if I’m cursed or just crazy.
Be saying all black boys were born haunting their own bodies
Makes sense I don’t seem to belong in mine.
Is this mine?
Am I a squatter in the witch house?
Am I a host who just fell too in love with holy ghost hopes?
Forgot myself with my dust?
Ashes crowd this body
Elbows and knees and crooks
like wood rot on the tree out back,
like white teen hands on ouija planchette,
like funeral family around the casket.
like we all know how the movie ends,
dark things stay down,
black boy stays down in street—
until the sequel—
we all know how that movie ends too.
until the sequel—
Blood moon came around again,
I survived April’s tetrad of eclipses as black as me
(more than some dark things can say)
so I guess that must make me magic, right?
Am I a miracle yet? Or just missing?
In the movie, new tenants finally try to cut the tree down.
Same thing in the streets,
only they been using guns.
watch the tree not die.
hatchet siphons veins like branches,
like now you see it, now—
as in, “be cured”
as in, be cursed
with sick black dopeness—
I bought a creepy sweatshirt off etsy today,
(white model wore it first)
it got skulls and roots and shit.
Makes me look mean.
Makes me look black like hell. as all hell.
Makes me remember where I come from.
I was born for blood moons.
Granny’s there, staining the craters like old rags to clean the juke joint floor,
like her lipstick where she kissed my mother.
Like her nails.
The women of my family leave their mark on everything.
bloody handprints and burning hair in the hot comb
I know this old ritual by heart,
modern black magic.
The protagonist screams in the movie theatre,
ghostly figure casts a shadow over her face
and you know what comes next but you gripping yo’ seat anyways and—
that’s all folks,
The second before the credits roll,
before you unclench your question mark body
there it is.
that. that right there.