Tonight Your Ghost

                            Tonight your ghost will ask my ghost

                            Who put these bodies between us?

                            --Metric, “Calculation Theme”

 

We enter the cemetery to touch

the illegible names on stones, 

 

quiet and damp to our skin 

as cellars, even now, when 

 

the brittle August grass 

breaks under us like cereal. 

 

Oak branches snap as squirrels 

leap in fright, in play; teenagers

 

swerve their parents’ cars to the edges

where there are no plots. 

 

We guess they stash drugs in the glove boxes, 

undress each other, and we are right

 

without knowing if we are. 

Decades have slipped from our lives 

 

since we did the same, though it’s wrong

to say we are in mourning, even if

 

we are. I have imagined the two

of your exes who died by suicide 

 

are the air wicking away our sweat, 

are the birds the size of gargoyles 

 

calling out for each other in the 

voices of cats. That says something

 

about us, you say, but you don’t say

what I want. When high beams swoop 

 

our path, they light animals preying 

on each other. We feel afraid

 

of ourselves. We are never so ready

to run or to maul a pitiful body down 

 

to bone, never ready. I know

what I want. I want what animals want 

 

when they are threatened, when the light 

has been dissolved. I am willing your mouth

 

to say, We will, to complete the sentence 

with flesh, with impulse, with car windows 

 

clouded with breath instead of weather. 

The insects are violent in our ears. 

 

You say if the gates are shut when we leave, 

we will go around them, like ghosts.

Emily Kingery is an Assistant Professor of English at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, where she teaches courses in literature, writing, and linguistics. She serves on the board of directors at the Midwest Writing Center, a non-profit organization that supports writers in the Quad Cities community.

©2018 HighShelfPress. 

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