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September 25, 2018 Poetry

Two Poems

Genevieve DeGuzman

Two Poems photo

A Haunting

The ghost rolls in like a fog and a headache
behind the eyes. It wallows in the mud to shed
excess heat. It is the carpet of fur shed on the couch
after escape. The feather falling from the back
of the bird fledged too soon.

It never wants to leave you, the ghost.
A spirit that has hikikomori-ed your body.
Ghost rolled tight around the stripper pole of your spine.
Ghost running laps across your bodily meridians,
each movement a constellation of tongue and armpits,
of gut, groin, and ankle bone.

It sits on your chest, a throne.
There are many ghosts that sit on chests
but this one doesn’t want to steal your breath
so much as push out whatever remains,
its birth an expulsion.
A vague outline. Wave coming up to the shoreline
but only darkening the sand around your feet.
A vague outlaw. Two samurai facing off,
blades angled against the sunrise.

It uses an outside voice inside the corkscrew spaces
of your head. It says words with irony:
mother, mishap, melodic; mute, immerse, madness.
It retreats deeper and deeper, until you can’t even see it.
The way a splinter warps the whorls
of your fingerprint, the ghost will warp
the spaces inside.

The fear of the ghost is darker than the grief
you refused to feel, the hole in your chest the ghost
exploited. The deepest black ever created. Dense scream
growling on the horizon, a monsoon hurling waves
over your body pinned to sand. Decimation by salt
for a body that is an open wound.

One night, you and the ghost climb to the top of a hill.
The ghost is in the final stages, embedded in you
like a deep sleep hypothermia. The moon glowed
and I clung to the earth of you, kissed your body
as if you were ground my feet had never set upon.
We turned together, in this space, a mutual gyre.
You clinging to my hand, you now
becoming my ghost.



Shape Shift

An iceberg’s color is determined
by how it interacts with light.
What color would I be
under your absent gaze?
Green, black, striped, or rainbowed
starlings mimicking an oil spill perhaps.
You’re not here anymore
to greet me at baggage claim and
there’s a shift of light and understanding
as the carousel whirls around,
beading and unbeading.
The police dog keeps sniffing me in line,
keeps hovering around my knees.
To seek danger as a game
is a world I’ve forgotten and now
what I feared the most came true
in the inlay strip of wood
becoming its own petrified
creation on your finger. I heard.
A wedding ring is a thing of great
stillness. They say that murmurations
used to describe starlings can also be used
to describe the way snow banks
slide down a mountain.
I know we don’t need to chorus
our hurts with each other anymore.
Just look to our nearest seven neighbors
and mass bash the glass.
Look at all this cargo, all this freight.
We could drown in this avalanche
unless we synchronize and shape shift.
Unless we tambourine bank the cusp.


image: Aaron Burch