Sept/Oct 2022 • Vol. XLIV No. 5 Poetry |

Splinter

when my father died, M and I tacked Northampton’s train tracks past a bakery named Hungry Ghost I slept in a corner dorm room where he was a hungry ghost so she bought boules of bread and even though my sweaters reeked of burnt toast, sweat, grief, we ate the whole way for seven miles, my father’s ghosts became my company in grief’s bed, M and I let a fatherly figure form before us parting mist I chewed him like the parts of a train car come to life—he laid hot hands on me — nailed the funny lines—he spoke and spoke and spoke—piston and rod — wheel by rail by break — it was like my father bloomed from a charnel in night’s sexual dark his torqued frame and the gangway bellows of his torqued frame when I elected to observe my life like this — honestly—with words—I emerged from the cavity I swallowed him into my love for M rose like steam from a nearby gutter. under fetid leaves and molded sourdou

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Photo of Marney Rathbun
Marney Rathbun is a substance abuse counselor and high school teacher in Massachusetts. Rathbun’s writing has been featured in Salt Hill JournalCosmonauts Avenue, and The Fourth River, and in their chapbook I call my father by his name (Jubilat, 2016). Rathbun is at work on a first collection.

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when my father died, M and I tacked Northampton’s train tracks past a bakery named Hungry Ghost I slept in a corner dorm room where he was a hungry ghost […]

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