Two phantoms came to me one night,
the first a student of opera
and hard knocks; approaching
in a gown spattered by bloodstains,
she bore on a scarlet tray
a gleaming golden pencil, said “Complain.”
The second, more flower girl
than demented bride, strewed petals
from bottomless pockets with one hand,
held in the other a purple pillow
with a silver pen upon it, whispered “Praise.”
Half-awake in the predawn
I tossed and turned,
raged and burned,
blearily staggered from bed to window
and wondered which fled ghost
would sign her name to the phrases I was forming.
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