The Poetry Project

Talking to My Ghost

Phoebe Greer

I see a bright full moon and as I gaze up at it my head floats, dislodging from its shoulders and neck to fill the face of the shining planet. Now I Am Moon and I see what bodies really look like. They are dry spaghetti sticks that snap and break, they lay down and sit up straight. As the full moon manipulator I use water to make bodies jiggle and lose form. They are never as full and powerful as me, weak and sticky they cling to each other and get eaten by light.

I suppose the meatball is a gap in space time, a meaty rock that compliments the sticky straw. A special something that doesn’t need empty words to communicate. It makes itself known by our understanding of what's missing or what hasn’t been imagined yet.

Whenever my mom made spaghetti it almost never was accompanied by meatballs. You can’t make meatballs out of tuna. Now that I am eating more sardines than I ever have in my life, I also like to think that I am eating the ocean. That within me, I carry the great crushed salt and stone. What Sardine saw and opened its mouth too, I now digest. The ocean seems like a place where a lot of unknown (humanly unknown) things live. Is that the reason for ocean waves, cause of all the ghosts trying to swim, trying to pierce the surface? I imagine them all at the bottom of the sea, linked arm in arm like a big underwater barricade. They jump together which creates that electric spray.

Ghosts seem like something your mind creates in place of The Something lost to us. But I've made up a lot of things I haven’t ever lost, including other Phoebe’s. There was the fairy Phoebe that was perfect and thin and light and flew around without a family.

I must be a ghost cause I’ve seen two. It was Nana and Grandpa and I told them to appear and when they did I then told them to leave. Do ghosts like being told what to do, I guess I’ve never asked. I wish Tilly (my old border collie) and I could be ghosts together but Tilly was always my moms dog.

I remember quiet mornings catching my mom in her sheer nightgown making tea by the stove and hearing whispers. I could never make out the words. I would cautiously enter the kitchen and say “hello” or “good morning” in a normal voice and whoever was with her, whoever was whispering or she was whispering to, would disappear.

My ghost story begins in my old school’s playground, duh, cause kids are so creepy! It's cause they don’t know their Unconscious. They think they are everything. I thought it. Everything was alive. If I thought of it, it lived, and if it lived, more importantly I could talk to it.

Work from Boo: Ghosts and the Unconscious for Utopian Dreaming with Claire Donato & Adrian Shirk