Published on Academy of American Poets (

Ghosts and Fashion

Although it no longer has a body
to cover out of a sense of decorum,

the ghost must still consider fashion—

must clothe its invisibility in something
if it is to “appear” in public.

Some traditional specters favor
the simple shroud—

a toga of ectoplasm
worn Isadora-Duncan-style
swirling around them.

While others opt for lightweight versions
of once familiar tee shirts and jeans.

Perhaps being thought-forms,
they can change their outfits instantly—

or if they were loved ones,
it is we who clothe them
like dolls from memory.


Copyright © 2015 by Elaine Equi. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 6, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“Call me superficial, but if anyone tells me they’ve seen a ghost (or an angel or an alien), my first question is, “What were they wearing?” For the record, I’m quite sure I have seen a ghost—my grandfather after he passed away. He was wearing his usual work clothes, a short-sleeved shirt with baggy grey pants. I’m surprised he wasn’t smoking his customary cigar.”
Elaine Equi


Elaine Equi

Elaine Equi is the author of numerous poetry books including, Click and Clone (Coffee House Press, 2011).

Date Published: 2015-08-06

Source URL: