in the occult night we sit in ominous circles and spellbind. with tricks of our tongues we hold onto our ghosts: imbibing wine and snapping the specters by their tender wrists. we parade into the circle a traipsing corpse-fleet of all our past selves. their edges blurred and paper-thin, cutting us where we can’t see. softening us. (shackling us.) we wash them one by one in a black river. imagine charred fillet sliding tenderly from brittle bone. skin unwrapping like a bandage and still, washing. never able to free the crevices from a festering dark. how to be clean?