“Ghost Story,” “Tu Negrita” & “The Magician” by Arumandhira Howard

Illustration of a ghostly blue hand emerging from a gold framed, ovular mirror

Ghost Story

the first time i died
i slipped into my mother’s

gooseskin. wore
it like a dress peppered

with pinot noir. what was
left of my breath stitched

over a rip in her elbow
ditch. blood pumps and

blood freezes. blood braids
into a rope my ghost tugs

from the other side.
will there ever be a world

real enough to move through?
everyday, a galaxy is destroyed

by nameless, indiscriminate gravity.
what happens when the body

wants to stay warm but
every campfire it starts

burns it alive?

Tu Negrita

i’m the coldest to ever do it
no really babe
i descended on the 7th day
a monument of found objects
hot-glued together
by fluorescent pink potential
it’s giving tsunami debris it’s giving
abandoned puppy rescued from
under a bridge like you know
when you look at something ugly
long enough it becomes
kind of irresistible suddenly
it’s all you can think of
your brain stuttering
all strobe-like the way
breast-milk porn
sticks you up in the afternoon
while doing your taxes
you hear what i’m sayin:
i’m a rave on the first night
when all the porta potties still flush
i’m headlining this bitch
crowdsurfing your dick
and taking names
blowin’ da bass
all da way down
beverly boulevard
during quiet hours
white milf drill teams
firing their sons
against my window
like mardis gras beads
you know how them boys
taste for breakfast
so i swallow ‘em whole
until i balloon
their lungs muttering
monsoon libido
lifting me off my freckled feet
up up up
until the high-rises underneath
are just deserted shells
in black sand
waiting for a body
to wash up
know what I mean?

The Magician

:: call me out of my name. ::
:: at the twelfth hour, my breasts ::
:: spell razors & tangerine. ::
:: I’m building a belladonna ::
:: shrine for my father (he is alive & ::
:: well in men who say all the ::
:: right things, my wide-eyed ::
:: devotion in their teeth). ::
:: I beat my cryptic face before ::
:: a glittering carnival: clown-ass ::
:: lovechild of american psycho & ::

:: american beauty. tell me why ::
:: my sleep paralysis burns indigo, ::
:: held down by a silhouette ::
:: in distant memory. ::

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Arumandhira (she/her) is a Blasian queer writer, marketer, and witch born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia (now surviving in Los Angeles). Her work is forthcoming in SWWIM. She makes music under the name Ohyeahsumi.

Hannah Cranna is a baker, aviculturist, and apothecary artist, living again in Connecticut.