What the Ghosts in a Kiki Petrosino Poem Said to the Ghosts in an Anne Sexton Poem, Which Were Actually the Ghosts in My Own Poem

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Some ghosts are my fathers,

forever testaments to ragelove,

undertow, imprint of baseball stitches

on the temple. Not king, not priest,

not urchin, but sad patient drugged

asleep in the psychiatric wing.

 

Not all ghosts are fathers.

I’ve counted them as I walk the suburbs.

Some are rabbits wearing moonrise

like an oversized firefighter’s jacket.

So ghostly, they stalk the cul-de-sacs,

gilled with despair, truculent, dreaming.

 

But that’s not all.

Sometimes I am my own father,

ghosting myself with amnesiac alphabets,

anemones, instructions against wrath

quelled by the unresolved stretches

of outer space warped inside

 

a lullaby I aim to sing above my daughter’s crib,

a mobile of my griefs made radiant.