more arguments with ghosts

You Visit as a Bird, a Hat


I am dreaming or remembering.


In the backyard, a flaming hysterical cardinal (or your red cashmere cap) kneads my scalp with tiny sharp claws, as if to burrow inside.


You tell me your hair didn’t “dissolve” – you shaved it first.


And the restapled fabric of the brim fills the air with the sound of someone’s questions, and seizes my knuckle with a greedy, peanut-shaped beak.


You are making that face again but you don’t quite have a “face”.


Knit circles in the shape of roses glued above the left ear, throat pulsing with melancholy whistles, a black riding cap slops about your skull, loose after chemo dissolved your hair.


I start to ask if this is the “ghost you” or the” real you,” then stop myself.


Sometimes I type, “you are I” when I mean something else.


Beside a two-dollar beret the pink of self-pity, a redwing blackbird lifts and swings into mist.


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