Couple’s Counselling for Ghosts

Erin Emily Ann Vance


I eat rotten blackberries and kiss you hard on the mouth.
My ink settles into your creases and I wrap myself
like I am a dying squid around your body
and I need to tell you this story.

Your teeth ooze with bile
From the choking flock of gulls
sleeping in your bones.
Forget the gulls, the bile, the berries,
I am a dying squid and my last words are ink shot into your navel.

I am fading in this sea foam smock
Your lips are sharp blades
This boat is sinking but it’s never touched water
Just the lake of your face, the shore of my waist
forget the funeral pyre and your first communion
I am a dead thing.

You are still breathing,


Erin Emily Ann Vance’s work has appeared in numerous journals, including Contemporary Verse 2 and filling station. She was a 2017 recipient of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Young Artist Prize and a 2018 Finalist for the Alberta Magazine Awards in Fiction. She has work forthcoming in The Occulum, Revue Post, Plentitude, and The Warren Review. Find her at and @erinemilyann on instagram and twitter.