Poetry: 4 Ghost Poems by Catherine Kyle

 

Catherine Kyle

 

A Baby Ghost

 

I torched it, the ghost says, kicking

her feet from a finely carved

 

ghost highchair.

 

The other ghosts stop and thumb their chins

and furrow their

ghost brows. They can’t imagine

 

why such a nice child would do

something so despicable. They can’t imagine

 

where she would

get fire in the first place.

 

They point at each other. Was it you? Was it you

who let her have

that match?

 

They shake

their heads. The baby

laughs and claps

her loud ghost palms.

 

All her hair

is made of fire.

 

All her body,

too.

 

***

 

A Garden Ghost

 

A ghost returns

to the garden where

the soil is all mixed up.

 

Finds an ulna and a chunk

of vertebrae,

a toe.

 

Ghost collects them in a cloth

checkered white and purple.

 

Picks them up and shakes

the silt from them:

a wrist,

a tooth.

 

I can’t lie, you’re

in bad shape 

says ghost girl to

the bone sack.

 

Water rages

all around.

 

The parted river slams.

 

Ghost girl climbs out dripping wet.

That wasn’t nice,

 

she says.

 

***

 

A Hard-Shelled Ghost

 

Ghosts choose

any shape they want.

 

Today it’s

ouroboros. The serpent eating

 

tail eating monster eating

head. A swallowing. A skin

 

-devouring, self-annulling

gulp. The ghosts aren’t

 

in the mood

today. Do not want to

 

be echoed. They pull their blankets

over bodies. Curl,

 

fetal, bent. They choose

their shape; they choose

 

this shape

today, this little nut.

 

Do not disturb. There is

a death. A mourning,

 

veiled,

bright.

 

***

 

A Fledgling Ghost

 

Ghosts choose any

shape they want.

 

Today they choose

the scabbard. Vessel for

 

an absent item, gully for

a knife. Some ghosts choose

 

the sharpened blade

that flickers, nervous

 

doe ear. Catching light and

speckled dust beams falling

 

to the boards. They remember

the time she sliced her palm

 

wide open, glittering

strawberry flood. Oh,

 

she said. Her boyfriend startled, gaping,

catching drips. Then

 

two hands were bloody and

she just said, Oh

 

again. The hunter and

the hunted lock their stares;

 

white tails dart. Spots and hooves

all canter; wind

 

-spun leaves scatter,

disperse. This is a story

 

of disappearing,

hiding in plain sight.

 

***

 

Catherine Kyle is the author of the poetry collection Parallel (Another New Calligraphy, 2017); the poetry chapbooks Gamer: A Role-Playing Poem (dancing girl press, 2015), Flotsam (Etched Press, 2015), and Saint: A Post-Dystopian Hagiography (dancing girl press, forthcoming); and the hybrid-genre collection Feral Domesticity (Robocup Press, 2014). Her writing has been honored by the Idaho Commission on the Arts, the Alexa Rose Foundation, and other organizations. She holds a Ph.D. in English from Western Michigan University and is pursuing an MFA in Poetry through New England College’s low-residency program. She teaches creative writing at the College of Western Idaho and through The Cabin, a literary nonprofit. Catherine’s website is www.catherinebaileykyle.com.

 

Twitter and Instagram: @_catherinekyle

 

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