Light fills the hand
with a language, unheard
through the mansion of air.
I was a guest of the trance,
netted in the mesh
of new words for wind.
Because they were eye-minded,
the ghosts shroud the orchard
where a beamless heaven harms my heart.
With no notion of perspective
the afternoon light falls or spills,
spills or falls
without knowing why. And the wind,
between the pages of your book,
made us feel our edges were curling
in the echo of the wasp’s paper nest.
Of countless ruined worlds
I had to become small,
cinched in a green velvet sack.
The soul comes back in scars.
To damage is a monstrous urge.
I forget which hand is writing.
Your name’s just a guest. How shall
the ritual, then, be read?
The bookcase knows
a ghost is someone:
Have you seen them? Do you remember?
In the lynch of light
I would not speak again.
You must not think
that you can withdraw from this orbit
of mirrors. Show them the marks
where you merged,
twinship long since gone,
shattered glass, sheeted.
I admire the ones who refuse to go away.
Difficult, to think at the end of day,
the scripts that were written
to teach us something
keep drifting further from the ship.
None of us could say what was what.
We needed paperweights, white roses,
a tiny bird folded like a sheet of paper.
We tried to put it in a safe place:
a closet of empty clothes
that once sent ravens unfolding.
Guilt is fecund. Ghost of what lifted us,
braid the ground & underground
and fill the run-down empire of our bed.
Walking through a ghost town, translucent,
the bird is finally able to see through the dead.
Claribel Alegría, “Rain,” Frank Bidart, “The Ghost,” Linda Bierds, “The Ghost Trio,” Lucie Brock-Broido, “How Can It Be I Am No Longer I,” Carolyn Forché, “Sequestered Writing,” Mark Irwin, “Ghost,” Christopher Kennedy, “Ghost in the Land of Skeletons,” Dana Levin, “Ghosts That Need Reminding,” Vachel Lindsay, “The Spider and the Ghost of a Fly,” Robert Lowell, “The Ghost,” Nathaniel Mackey, “Ghost of a Trance,” Paul Mariani, “Ghost,” Eric Pankey, “Restless Ghost,” Edgar Allan Poe, “Lenore,” Lisa Sewell, “Letter from a Haunted Room,” Wallace Stevens, “A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts,” Keith Waldrop, “The Ghost of a Hunter,” Dara Wier, “Blue Oxen.”
Jennifer Moore was born and raised in Seattle. She is the author of The Veronica Maneuver (The University of Akron Press, 2015), and her poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, DIAGRAM, Best New Poets, The Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. An associate professor of creative writing at Ohio Northern University, she lives in Bowling Green, Ohio.