Arsenic Lobster poetry journal Issue Thirty-eight
Summer 2015
Julie Rouse

Everyone wears a gas mask. There is still
need for milk and margarine for kids
worn thin from lack. Dad, mom, big and little
sisters like aliens or astronauts walk
hand-in-hand down a silvered street.
This is only a test.
Child-sized gas mask is on one side
or the other. I want to be on the right
side, with the living but also with the dead
who I see calmly, closely behind.
Here is what I know of the dead:
once a dead woman entered my body.
I knew this because her weight
pressed me deeper into the chair,
the one she died in after a long time.
This is only a test, though, if you answer
correctly, I cannot promise you will be, like me,
ghost-laden or ghost-free. I can give you this
gum drop and tell you that whatever dissolves
is also evidence of the human.

About Julie Rouse

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