Josh Darling

The June Editor's Pick Poet is Josh Darling

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The ghost hunter babbled,
“This is such-and-such prison…
…the worse experience
of many prisoners
was to die here.”

I thought,
How can they
put this nonsense on TV?
Ghosts don’t exist
there are things
far worse than death.

After fifteen minutes or so
of walking dark corridors
the ghost hunter reached
the prison’s showers
he and I
learned something new.

I learned
ghosts are real.

He learned
what happens in prison showers
is worse than death


I’d been watching her,
my prey, my prayer.
She was like a dessert from the wedding of two affluent families,
that no one had touched.
Elegant, delicious, and left on top of the trash heap of our neighborhood,
and I wanted to cut a piece out of her.
She was worth, the money for the night vision goggles and lock picking tools,
my novelties came in the mail, like gag gum and x-ray glasses.
Each day, I’m biding my time getting ready, watching, closing in and getting closer,
to the night when I will make into a ghost to haunt me forever.
She is full of surprises, when I go to pounce, there are things I couldn’t expect,
like the sting of mace, a kick to the balls, or that she also owns handcuffs.
Coming to, my eyes sting like a hobo pissed in them,
there is the schlick of steel on stone.
She sings to herself, sharpening a kitchen knife,
her song is a cheerful promise of pain.
And I am ready,
knowing where I will haunt.


they are doing
their early morning
ritual sacrifice
prayers to Lucifer
over anonymous
street meat
chained to pentagram
soon they will
shower together
washing away
the evidence
this is what
your neighbors
do before commuting
to work
not all sacrifices
are made under
the sway of
full moon
some are best
done at dawn
before hitting
rush hour traffic
he be pushing the
lawn mower while
she bakes brownies
for the PTA bake sale

they will be
you over
for dinks
as long as
they don’t need
last-minute blood
you are all good
even if you knew,
would the ribs at
last week’s barbecue
taste any different

Born on Long Island, Josh Darling started writing poetry and horror fiction in his teens. To make ends meet, he worked ghostwriting self-help books, a feat for a lifelong nihilist. His published works include poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, and spanning the genres of fiction, crime, and horror. His stories have appeared in various literary journals including “The Bookends Review.” He currently lives in Tampa, Florida, with the love of his life and their son.