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Haunted


ISSUE:  Autumn 1994
To get back to you is easy; I may be in a room full of
  people
swelled with wine. I could be spreading my hand on a
  couchback
to keep steady. And then rain will come or someone will
  say
rain and I’ll imagine your crunched Impala you got for
graduation and your 20-year-old head canceled and
bleeding on the steering wheel. When this happens I’ll
  breathe
and say, “People know; this is my black aura. I’ll wear him
  like a jacket, formal like a tie.”

**

People move strangely with no clothes.
As if furniture could lance them clean through
the abdomen. With you it is different,
as if you were a fact. There.
Your hands hang and you don’t question the
dark air of my room. Every night you come
back naked. And it starts like this:

My eyes fall back to the same blank
space on the wall. I have memorized it, it has
texture, edges. And then there is a pull toward
the center, like all the plaster is draining
away. And then comes your spiraling shape:
white, a coiling and uncoiling white ribbon.
You are here for a minute, startling as a young
tree standing all winter. Your eyes
are the only thing changed. They have grown
white with lack of sun.

It is unfair, ghosts are supposed to
rattle teacups, to shake and howl at the
injustice of a stopped body. But you
just come back, letting your body reassemble
to take my familiar hand.

***

It is strange how they don’t want to. How
everyone leaves you alone: a rainstorm, an ajar body
dead in a car. It is strange that you do not call them.

Come back. Reach out your hand and say
you did not mean that ending.

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