Catalina Righter

Florida Man Shoots “Haunted” Cash Register During Graveyard Shift at Exxon Mobil

I knew this carpenter who thought he was possessed. 
He made furniture so beautiful 
he thought it must be the work of Satan, 
so on a night like this, he ate his own hands, 
laid them down his throat 
and touched each small bone of the trachea 
with a calloused fingertip

I hear stories like this from the customers all the time. 
So late, they need something for the quiet, 
want to give me something for my troubles 
and my shining sleepless eye. The offerings 
pile up and I keep them 
next to the register and the bowl of coins.  

Dead eyes sliding door red sign sidewalk my hand 
is in the night and I am in it too, 
selling gas and pickled eggs,
selling gas and Swisher Sweets, selling gas 
and Dramamine, checking out. 

He lost touch you could say if you were clever.
He did the Lord's work you could say if you were cruel. 

I am in the night, in the graveyard shift burying my body
under hours of silence. I am
in the night, but my Baby is too. Check her out, 
blowing in between the sepulchers; she is the only lively thing.  

She lights a cigarette, a little red sunshine. 
I want to give her something for her trouble, 
the way she puts my eyes back in their sockets, 
gives my hands a purpose 
touching each small round of her spine.

Catalina Righter is a journalist in rural Maryland. She is the winner of the 2017 Sophie Kerr Prize and her work appears in Rust + Mothand The Summerset Review.