Steve Henn


Ever since the spoons went missing, I’ve been thinking
that her ghost is here. A whoosh of air travels across
my bedspread when I wake at 2 a.m. I try to decipher
her figure in the dark. I used to be terrified she’d haunt me,
even begged her not to when she said she might and seemed
to know that she would go first. If she is here
she’s more mischievous than malicious. I keep waiting
for the clear signal, the heart-skip whisper in my ear
or vision in a midnight mirror. When I was a kid,
I heard that if you look into the bathroom mirror chanting
“Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary” so many times
some kind of Franken-mother-of-Jesus would appear.
The truth of the matter is now I’d rather not see her.
I wrote a lot of poems for her. Some asked for forgiveness.
One compared her to a deer. A couple years after she died
a friend told me, you know that chapbook you collected
of your poems about her for her 30th birthday?
She bragged she’d never bothered to read any
at this one point in the party when you weren’t there.


Steve Henn teaches high school English in northern Indiana. His previous books include Guilty Prayer (Main Street Rag, 2021) and Indiana Noble Sad Man of the Year (Wolfson, 2017). He’s proud of the children of himself and late American artist Lydia Henn. He roots for the Fighting Irish, played high school soccer, and gives poetry readings in all kinds of places, from Pittsburgh to Long Beach, travel conditions and money conditions and time permitting. His next collection, due out February 2022, is American Male from Main Street Rag. His favorite food is crab cakes, which are also a unit of value measurement for anything in the world (this poem =  3 crab cakes).