by Nohemi Samudio Gamis
I died and became a ghost,
with hands too cold to warm myself.
Six feet underground is too much weight
for my spirit. I open my coffin to breathe.
Earth falls in my mouth & makes me gag.
Lonely graveyard, lonely fantasma.
I follow the paired footprints,
all the way back home. I flit unseen as
my parents read my diaries. Mamá cries
over words she can’t understand, and Papá
asks why objects have to be left by the dead.
Lonely mamá, papá, fantasma.
They ask for a translation,
my hermanos y hermanas repeat the words I
never said when I was alive. It makes me cry.
Just how salty are these tears? Rancid, lucid.
They sit at the kitchen table and read my life.
Lonely hermanos, hermanas, fantasma.
They flip page after page,
through marked memories written in ink.
A poem for my parents, a letter to depression,
sketches of faces & places I never met. Familia,
you believe in God; do you believe in ghosts?
Lonely hija, lonely fantasma.
I refuse to exist anywhere that isn’t here.