Night of the Living Dead by Ace Boggess

Image Ten, et al., 1968

I’ve always thought graveyards the best place to begin,
like the one my young aunt & I played in as children:
deep in a hollow, shadowy & overlaid with leaves;
abandoned, we believed until years later when little American flags
appeared. We’d tramp through the brittle, shushing cover,
not caring who we stepped on, who we might awaken
from a funny dream. There were plenty of limbs
to use as swords as we fought our way through armies of weeds.
Puff balls, too: we stomped them to earn their brown clouds of spore
we convinced ourselves would kill us if we breathed.
Cemeteries were our playgrounds then,
long before I watched brother chase sister around the stones,
heard that mocking chant, They’re coming to get you,
Barbara—taunt the most horrifying part of the film,
at least until a policeman shoots the hero by mistake, &
I know what’s left of the innocent world is lost.

Ace Boggess is author of three books of poetry, most recently Ultra Deep Field (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017), and the novel A Song Without a Melody (Hyperborea Publishing, 2016). His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota Quarterly and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.


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