Having heard owls, but not seen them,

Ghosts no longer perplex.

The membranes connecting the living and dead

Are so thin and can be breached.


On one side we breathe and talk and sleep and walk

About and take for granted the ease—oh Emily from

Our Town shouts her unheard words—the other ghosts

Nod their approval, but know the gesture useless.


We the living move against that thin line—sometimes

Peering once more into the eyes of a parent long dead

Or a lover whose kisses coasted bodies in our youth

Or the friend from college whose laughter disrupted

The library, most importune. Oh they roam across


Our minds like antelope herds, beautiful daring

But we cannot hear them. We can see again


Eyes that looked into our eyes

At birth or sense touch—the fever that left

In a few days or the slap when something said

Triggers anger. There the ghosts hover

Shift and rumble our dreams


Like owls in early morning demanding

We listen. The winter’s wind sharpens.

We are now willing

To contort our breath into puffs

That hover and shift like ghosts.