the dead want to friend you on LinkedIn
identical greetings through grinning teeth
you got a job they no longer need? 

you will wish them happy birthday
on Facebook when they’re dead
if no one told you of their passing

ten years after their funerals, they’ll pop
up again, happy as ever, lined up in rows
on Facebook along with your ex-lovers
and the shitty boss you were glad to be rid of,
a grotesque unexpected ghost gathering

and you’ll want to friend them back
for that split second before you remember
they’re dead—and more so in the hollow pause after


I still check your Instagram account each day
afraid they will find your password, remove it,
or make it private—as if they could make you
more dead than you are
or my chest more empty I gaze
into the photos convinced I
missed something

maybe they changed since I looked at them yesterday
in some small way, or maybe one went missing,
stolen by some ghost, creating new loss
or a strange anticipation

you might add a short post, pop back to life
with a new untraveled hashtag, a snapshot
of your afterlife, a tiny gift to your fans
I project myself into the cyber rendition
of your curated past lives—frozen
square moments to fixate on, as if fixation
could be a transformation or just a way
to keep you

I still tag you in my own spare posts
as I know ghosts haunt social media
and you might be listening . . .
I keep looking and looking . . .


the tools still lean on your green shed wall
we could have shoveled a lot of manure
and built those warped green-wood gardens
with damp lumber I bought
the day before you killed yourself

your sangoma posts hint at an earlier
life and the one you didn’t make it out of
rolling dice predicts your fate,
and black-matted hair unravels under a white
light, sprawling across a sari, displaced
and splayed, a hairy hieroglyphic pubis
silent omens to Instagram fans
nonplussed—it was felted from a lamb

somebody’s gonna hurt you bad . . .
might snatch you right out of your life

#vaginadentata #gottalineonyou

children’s teeth erratically scattered
not knowing what their toothless
heads will unwittingly wreak
the compost machine will not
spin shit, and its butterfly finished its journey
our unplanted lavender
lies withered on the shed floor . . .

birthday girls beam in squares
surrounded by dark poetry, and you, as a little
boy and a little girl, your nine lives suggested
in rows of three—and your tenth one missing

Mother Mary looks down at your bleeding heart
with reserved curiosity . . . you’ve been nailed with
a pin and those headless teeth randomly tossed around
your womb while others perch on polished beach stone

the woman-child painting fixed to your
wall came back home with me, assigned a new meaning
sad how an image can change over time as
if it has its own mind, and strange how a
being can flee like wind—the sea 
into the gloaming sky when morning never returns

death just doesn’t make sense
and yet, I have Instagram and mornings
spent scanning disembodied squares, hashtags, and
your sagaciously crafted artifacts


Koss is a queer writer and fine artist with an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. They have work in Entropy, Diode Poetry, Cincinnati Review, Hobart, Spillway, Spoon River Review, North Dakota Quarterly, What Rough Beast, and others. They also have a hybrid book due out in 2020 by Negative Capability Press and work in Best Small Fictions 2020. Keep up with Koss on Twitter @Koss51209969 and Instagram @koss_singular.