Recurring dreams stem from regret,
refluent, returning as if lifted
into an apogee of longing that trails
the moon endlessly around the earth,
unquenched desire or unresolved conflict.
In these dreams the revenant dead ,
or those who might have died,
because you lost their addresses
twenty years ago when the world
first came to an end,
pop up like burnt toast
out of their special nowheres,
appear framed by darkness
when blue doors open,
flutter, whispering like velvet,
out of the unraveling years.
In restaurants they turn out to be
the waiter, presenting the bill
of an unwelcome reckoning.
Even in unfamiliar houses
they wait like distant cousins
who have nowhere else to go:
phantoms on the stairs trying
to pat me or pluck at my sleeve
with their unsubstantiated fingers.
Happiness keeps on asking
to hold my hand like the ghost
of a harmless idiot child
whom nothing can offend,
who follows me down the cellar steps
to where I get a jar of sleep from
the peeling cobalt-painted cupboard,
and keeps on grinning
no matter how many times
I ask him where is your mother?
and tell him to go away.
©2001 F.J. Bergmann
"Ghosts" appeared on Words-myth Issue #5 January 2007
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