Jonny Teklit

One Night, When the Dread is Hard to Shake, I Ask Whoever Is Up There

How come there aren’t any black ghosts?
When we die, we’re dead.
There’s no floating through decrepit houses, no
possessing of living bodies, no
being summoned by foolish teenagers—
just dead.

If I’m killed, make me a ghost.
I deserve the chance to haunt.

If a cop kills me, put me in his kitchen.
I’ll replace his coffee grounds with gravel
until every morning tastes like the street I died on.
If the tap water kills me, put me in a gentrified neighborhood.
I’ll writhe and groan in their pipes until they flee
at the sight of my black mold pressed to the wall.

Or maybe– if I’m killed– just send me home.
When I find my mother, empty from weeping,
absently scrubbing dishes in the sink,
let me possess the kettle. Let my cry
call her over to something still

White horror is coming back from the dead.
Black horror is never being able to come back at all.

Poem Inside A Locker Room by Gaia Rajan

Jonny Teklit is a winner of the 2019 Academy of American Poets College Poetry Prize as well as the recipient of the 2019 Aliki Perroti and Seth Young Most Promising Young Poet Award. Currently a reader for The Adroit Journal, his work has appeared in Lancaster Online and The New Yorker.