A hallway full of shadeless lamps suddenly goes dark
Upon the simultaneous bursting of the globes.
Glass is everywhere, and so thin it forgets

To reflect even the tiny glimmer of your
Matchlight as you pull out your wish 

This is it. The immediacy of the final desire.

I know the dead I know where ghosts go
to feel at home in the float

And how they commune with the living
through the lightswitch 
or the smells of honeysuckles off 
the highway upstate
I say

But you don’t

Related Poems

But, like, where is the body?

But, like, where is the body?
                                        Girl in Feminist Literary Theory wants to know. She’s got

precise long ringlets, tendency toward baby-doll shirts. Yes, and opacity?

PhDs round the table join in, What is the opacity of the body?
                                                                      And the writer . . . is she here in the text?
                                             (Hermeneutics) Where is the body? Where is the body?

All poets on standby: we prod our bran muffins,
plop baby carrots back into Tupperware,            our underarms cold with irritation.

The professor trails white chalk across her grey skirt, filling up the blackboard
with heteroromance. Oh?
                                                             Tell me more about that marriage plot,
                                                             I am licking my fingers and picking up crumbs. 

I’m crying fruit tears inside the Goblin Market. I am Lizzie calling Laura up the
garden. Did you miss me? Come and kiss me. Never mind my bruises, hug me, kiss
me, suck my juices.

Squeez’d from goblin fruits for you, goblin pulp and goblin dew.

We're All Ghosts Now

So says my friend who doesn’t know it now
But he’s been conscripted to say what I shouldn’t

Want anyone to say too soon, too suddenly, too many times
More than must be said. It’s a tall order, or as another friend says

A tall drink of water, otherwise: it’s plain & simple:
What anyone wants most of all.

Another friend tells me I’m easy and means something sweetly as when
One caves with the slightest shudder somehow thoroughly.

Another says what you say should be in a poem which means
Someone is taking for me the trouble to breathe, maybe fire.

Lucidity, quick and painlessly employed, kind of, as a kind nurse employs
Her rough pinch to be less strict than her needle’s as it settles into a vein

To take sufficient blood away somewhere to be deployed in centrifuge
To diagnose and otherwise and likewise and counterclockwise say, the way

Metaphor or blood can have the last word. In order to be sure of what the
Center is, everything has to spin away, I guess. Your words like a lost ghost

On a mission. I've never met a ghost who's not on a mission.
Why otherwise bother to be a ghost's ghost?

When we write to ghosts we write on stony water. One can skip a stone
In order to pretend to find ten thousands things.

Nearby is very close.
Nearby I take your words to water. My ghosts are growing restless.


                      After Anne Sexton


Some ghosts are my mothers
neither angry nor kind
their hair blooming from silk kerchiefs.
Not queens, but ghosts
who hum down the hall on their curved fins
sad as seahorses.

Not all ghosts are mothers.
I’ve counted them as I walk the beach.
Some are herons wearing the moonrise like lace.
Not lonely, but ghostly.
They stalk the low tide pools, flexing
their brassy beaks, their eyes.

But that isn’t all.
Some of my ghosts are planets.
Not bright. Not young.
Spiraling deep in the dusk of my body
as saucers or moons
pleased with their belts of colored dust
& hailing no others.