Fall 2021

WATCH ME TRICK GHOSTS

By Robert Krut

It helps to become wind, move
like air while a sheet of their thousand
misshapen eyes floats beside you.

It helps to make regret a small
paper house, a barroom matchbook
inside, waiting to light.

It helps to climb on top
of the bookcase, just out of the sight
line of their ever-changing faces.

It helps to make memory a cape, drape
it across your shoulders, feel
it curl to ash against skin.

It helps to become water, let
them set their sins on your surface,
sail across and past.

It helps to stand outside the window, see
each exhale themselves, wait
to steal your breath, but

watch me trick ghosts
and leave the house, hollow and free.

You Are the Street, You Are the Sleep

Here is a steel seed.
Place it on your chest before you go to sleep.
Wake with filings across your eyelids.

Each dream, a capsule riding your bloodstream.
Rest in a cocoon wrapped with steel wool.
Let red lines mark your arms in maps.

Go get a cup of coffee.
Cough at the sink, trace your blue light.
Pull wire floss from your molars.

Outside the window, someone in motion.
Etching a name into a street sign pole with a knife.
There is no sound tonight.

You will try to sleep again.
The pipes in the house snapping their elbows.
You attempt water, you settle for metal.

Echolocation Manuscript

Snapping wood, scraping metal through the wall.
Initials scratched into the foundation with a blade.
What’s in that room.

Dread isn’t mystery it’s anxiety and anxiety isn’t entertainment.
The saw played like a violin sculpts a statue of an eyeless head.
What’s in the walls.

Bones don’t have identity.
The nerves are a short-circuiting power grid.
I don’t know how to smile let alone mingle.

I know how to show my teeth when called for.
Is there a reason to now.
A snapshot by the lake is blackmail no matter who took it.

Humidity is a cloud of skin settling on the roof.
Electricity is veins and the house is sick.
The keys are locked under the floorboards.

The ceiling is a straightjacket for the door.
I donated my hand to the window sill.
What’s in that room.

For months, a cloud has been pouring itself into our chimney.
A ghost with human texture reaches to tap us on the shoulders.
Footsteps across a bed of branches through the vents.

I have written a book about this sound.
I have written a book about this sound.
Then burned it.


Robert Krut is the author of Watch Me Trick Ghosts (Codhill/SUNY Press, 2021), The Now Dark Sky, Setting Us All on Fire (Codhill/SUNY Press, 2019), This Is the Ocean (Bona Fide, 2013), and The Spider Sermons (BlazeVox, 2009)He teaches in the Writing Program and College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and lives in Los Angeles. More about him here: https://www.robert-krut.com/.

Fall 2021