There’s nothing the plague dead did that we
didn’t do. We gave our unprotected bodies
to strangers too—before we met & burned
each other’s initials into our arms. Black ink
& ash smudge, foreheads anointed the day
of fasting. Neither of us knows why
he deserved to survive, the virus
a hummingbird hovering above
the flower’s stamen before gliding off
to another bloom. On Granville Island
I, ghost, took you, ghost, to be my lawful—
my body still craving to be broken into
like a window; yours the rock that smashes.


From Instructions for Seeing a Ghost (University of North Texas Press, 2020) by Steve Bellin-Oka. Copyright © 2020 by Steve Bellin-Oka. Used with the permission of the poet.