More Ghosts

Untitled Vacation Home With the Recently Deceased

I bring you everywhere, a chipped tooth in my pocketbook.

You are too early to be a real ghost, but I see you in doorways as if bracing for an earthquake, more than a little annoyed.

You taught me how to pose, how to stop squinting in photographs.  I taught you what to do with your mother, the kind of jar to keep her in, what kind of cotton to use.

The stain of you seeps into the room, and I feel the edges of my skin wobble, a water balloon about to burst.

The page before us asks: what kind of zoo animal are you?

You weren’t supposed to talk then, but I couldn’t stop asking you questions, your voice muffled behind your oxygen mask.  Nobody light a match, I kept wanting to say.

In the morning, do you often feel a tension between the animal and mineral?

Now I’m working on different ways to say, come here, you: sideways, in Spanish, with great specificity.

Hold my hand or your breath: does it feel the same?

On the porch, a cardinal flies up past me to the corrugated tin roof — his wings, tail, belly, a series of hinged fans, red, all red.   His pin-prick talons scritch on the metal, his voice like a bubble-popping, a question repeating repeating repeating.

What kind of cloud do you most resemble?

The housekeeper’s been coached into singing the names of your secret parts, the one word organs, the simple ones any child can label.

They lick my eyelids, your old calicos.  Like I’m a piece of something passive and sweet.  They won’t let me sleep, curling over my face and hands, humming Queen’s “We Will Rock You”.

The fluid inside you is aching to get out.  Shall we do this together? Will we do it apart?

Come into my screening room.  I have burnt the sheets for you, covered all the mirrors in postcards from tomorrow-land. My palms know the clockwise rub of the fur on your belly.  My nose has rubbed the ash-scented film from your crown.

I never wanted you to be lonely.  Who was it who told me not to get involved?

We both felt the wind, but couldn’t tell where it came from, just held onto our paper plates and kept working on that potato salad.

How would you describe your ideal river?

You might be asking yourself: how can I breath in such a house? Nothing lasts as long as you think. Who needs windows when you have a fire inside?

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jessica Maybury
    Jul 28, 2011 @ 17:29:48

    aw man this is awesome. WHY CAN’T I WRITE THINGS LIKE THIS!!

    I defy you stars.

    Reply

  2. downtherabbit
    Jul 29, 2011 @ 00:35:35

    Thanks so much, Jessica — I just checked out yr blog — how can I get a copy of ESC???

    Reply

  3. Barry Napier
    Aug 02, 2011 @ 13:53:18

    Awesome as usual. There’s a very creepy abstractness to it that I absolutely love. Please keep these ghost poems coming!

    Reply

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