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Sorry, T.

but I’m a ghost. Do you understand

that the person you love

is fleshy and heavy from hip

to boot to make up for this?

There’s a name for it: Brenda,

but I can’t fool everyone.

Even if I have convinced you,

and I don’t bruise easily, that I am yours

to strong-arm and throttle.

Even when you force me to become

of this world—of this cold floor.

I can do so only for a moment.

When the moment falls off

and primal fool-seasons

affix their wintry incubus,

I tend to stomp around to another

bed. Hurting you vaporizes me,

which is why I love others.

I don’t leave a flukeprint in the sweat

of things. The ground won’t greet me

like a domestic animal when I walk.

When I talk you glaze over like the sun

on shifty pavement.

I won’t see the lip of a step

before I bloody my knees again.

(The blood isn’t so bad, but for a ghost

it doesn’t make sense.

Others can draw it, they don’t know.

They make it into a potion for themselves

but you try to make me look at it.)

from Human Dark with SugarFind it in the library

Copyright © 2008 Brenda Shaughnessy
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Published in Brenda Shaughnessy Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.