Family of Strangers
Ghosts multiply, spreading
while I sleep.
Ghosts born two at a time, tearing
from my nostrils, and a large child
who bubbles from my mouth and suckles my chin.
Once-black eyes now alive
with iridescent fog.
Blue electricity needles.
Some ghosts are children who stare
at me while I sleep.
Some are fathers who can walk again,
smoke streaming from their hair.
In daylight I miss you.
I begin to miss you when
I am peeling from sleep, edges
reddening with sun.
Ghosts, I adore your absence.
Ghosts, I cannot lie to you
who are transparent, I
who am also transparent.
In daylight I pretend to stop
loving, to stop looking for you,
ghost children, ghost men—
Let us never be absent or calm.
From Lullaby (with Exit Sign), forthcoming from Saturnalia Books, 2013.
Originally published in Beloit Poetry Journal.