Troop No. 80085, by Marisca Pichette

girl guides
us down into our decadent
afterlife.

scouts in sashes patched
with souls
spritz us with bath & body works
and smudge us
with sage.

in summer camp we sat round a fire
and listened to how all d*kes
go to hell.

behind communal showers
we danced a hexing circle
and ate trefoils laced
with lust.

on the opposite side of a false lake
charon-crossed creek
we kissed death
and listened to her whisper

all my greatest girls 
get a shadow of their own.

flesh-freed, shame-flayed
we crush cookies into dust
rip box tops into orisons
soggy on the bank
of the lake we used to drown
our chastity.

our death is the latest badge
stitched to rotting skin
luminous beneath the moon.

sitting cross-legged in mosquito pools
we learn the names of the shadows
who lead our immortal troop:

hecate, artemis, baba yaga
llorona, lilith, succubus
bloodied between matching sets
of lips.

bitten nails chipped black with cheap
polish, cuticles chewed back
fingers fumble calculator buttons,
add us up to a number 
all the boys know—

80085
spirits screaming
spines arching
vomiting our desires in torrents
of angry stars.

daisies grow into huntresses,
brownies blossom intentions
all our own.

in life, you couldn’t pry us apart–
sharing beds and showers
exploring the contours of bodies
alike and different all the same.

in death, we grow.
loving longer, holding harder
than brittle bones allowed.

look up, little girl:
the sky’s awash in shadows
tangled sheet ropes stretched
from horizon to horizon.

reach up and find
ladder, net, quilt
whispering all our history you never heard

captivated round a crackling fire
on the other side 
of love.

Marisca Pichette is a queer author and bone-collector based in Massachusetts, on Pocumtuck and Abenaki land. More of her work appears in Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, Vastarien, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Fantasy Magazine, Flash Fiction Online, and others. She is the winner of the 2022 F(r)iction Spring Literary Contest and has been nominated for the Best of the Net, Pushcart, Utopia, and Dwarf Stars awards. Her speculative poetry collection, Rivers in Your Skin, Sirens in Your Hair, is out now from Android Press

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