To a ghost that never dies.

I had my first drink at 15, the same year my grandmother took her last, washing down two bottles of codeine with gin. I watched them wheel her out of her apartment on a gurney, zipped up, tight. I thought my soul died. Some talk of funerals, she read the obituary every morning with her coffee. Her death came fast and silent like a traitor. I wept until earth became clay & clay became chalk, then I erased everything.

40 years later, our bodies like urns, cupping our animal hearts. Mom buries her hope inside an old sycamore. I tear at the roots with my hands. Tired of the fury, that loud, ugly, spit in your face anger. The fuck you kind of rage women aren’t allowed to show. I want to make my darkness visible so I sell plasma on the corner for $60 a pop.


by Sheree La Puma

Sheree La Puma is an award-winning writer whose personal essays, fiction and poetry appeared in such publications as Burningword Literary Journal, I-70 Review, Crack The Spine, Mad Swirl, and Ginosko Literary Review, among others. She will be featured in the forthcoming Best of 2018 issue of Burningword as well. She received an MFA in Writing from California Institute of the Arts and attended workshops with poet Louise Mathias and writer Lidia Yuknavitch. She has taught poetry to former gang members and theater to teen runaways. Born in Los Angeles, she now resides in Valencia, CA with her rescues, Bello cat and Jack, the dog.

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