Actual Persons, Living or Dead

︎︎︎ Michelle Brooks

︎ April 28, 2021

First, turn on the lights.
Ghosts drift toward shadows.
Use the sin of omission as if
it was a life raft, and you can’t
swim. I can swim, of course.
As a child I swam in tanks,
throwing rocks before getting
into the water to scatter the snakes
while my mother doled out advice
like, If you fall out of a boat, float.
You can float forever. I never learned
how to float, always defaulting to treading
water. You can do that for a long time.

Michelle Brooks has published three collections of poetry, Make Yourself Small, (Backwaters Press), The Pretend Life (Atmosphere Press), Pretty in A Hard Way (Finishing Line Press) and a novella, Dead Girl, Live Boy (Storylandia Press). A native Texan, she has spent much of her adult life in Detroit.