The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Ed O'Casey

What do you call a ghost with huge breasts?


“There must have been thirty thousand chickens sitting silently on the floor in front of me.

They didn’t move, didn’t cluck. They were almost like statues of chickens, living in nearly

total darkness.”
                    -Michael Specter


surrounded in this essential habit of cluckeries—
not a customary practice: an acquired behavior

pattern, something more like the concept of millions of dead
forebears overseeing our penance. there are no such things

as ghosts—just the meatcrumb trails we leave behind for ourselves
to discover: a hundred thousand chicken McNuggets

materialized seemingly lifelike from the asses
and tits, the offal of something like twenty million chicks.

that’s a damn lot of fowl to carry with me. but the real
value-added part of the experience comes from the tens

of thousands of cows produced in fluorescent track lighting,
covered in sweetened tomato paste and pressed between bun

halves—a thousand breaded fried fish flopping for air in this
locally grown manure pond, hundreds of sore, smoke-flavored

pigs and cold turkeys, they are the noisy ones: more gobbles,
snorts, and warbles than I should, in good conscience, shake a fork

at. with deep enough earplugs and a smidgeon of sunlight,
maybe a quarter cup of fortune, I can get my head

wrapped onto the idea of a salad, something grown
purposefully in manure. there’s also that fresh baby shark

from a Saturday morning breakfast in Acapulco
on my shoulders, speared that morning—it keeps eating broilers
                                                                but there are more.



Ed O'Casey

Sorry I missed her


funeral—it became impossible to get there

        for all those reasons and

                excuses or whatever—
                you know,
                                my alibi.

                Or is it alibis?
My vindication—yeah,
that’s it.
                We’ll call it

                        a trick I played
                on the mourners
                standing out there

beside you in the warm wind,

                waiting for the will
                to break open.

She left me something too. This absolution
has been driving me apeshit.

                Sorry for dropping
                the A-word.




ED O'CASEY received his MA from the University of North Texas and his MFA from New Mexico State University. He teaches full time at Nicolet Area Technical College in northern Wisconsin, where he is currently learning how to avoid freezing to death in his own living room. His poems have appeared or are upcoming in Berkeley Poetry Review, Cold Mountain Review, Tulane Review, pacificREVIEW, Euphony, Poetry Quarterly, NANO Fiction, and West Trade Review.



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