This Nice Ghost Can Make All My Decisions

Three poems by Emily Hockaday

This Nice Ghost Can Make All My Decisions

Disappearing Act

My father gathers the corners
of the silk handkerchief;
his hands smell of cloying wort
from brewing. The colors are
shifting, and where was the blue patch
and tear I mended those years
ago? Every time he folds the fabric
it grows larger. Soon the handkerchief
folds into a door. All the years of origami
prepared him for this moment. He pulls the silk
behind him. We are left with nothing but space.

How the Ghost Got In

It got in through the open window. On early morning
shafts of light. In the mourning dove’s song. Up
the copper pipes and through the floorboards,
carried in water particles from the radiator’s steam. In my dreams.
In my husband’s dreams; my daughter’s dreams. It came
through the front door— it brought baggage and gifts,
secrets and stories. It came in the light of day
and under cover of night. Sometimes quietly,
sometimes with the clanging of backed up plumbing
or the harmony of lullaby. Sometimes with a chill,
sometimes with a fever. It arrived. And it arrived.
It arrived again, and it kept on arriving.


The Ghost Is Making Decisions

I realize the ghost is making decisions
for me, and it is time to tell my husband.
Somehow this confession gives the ghost strength. 
It has good intentions, I tell my
husband, sometimes. We are riding
the subway, and I watch the buildings outside the window 
blur together. At times I see people inside,
a family tableau; more often the shiny body
of the train reflected. Do you love it?
My husband asks. If he is jealous,
it doesn’t show. I don’t know how to answer.
A pack of seagulls lands on the subway struts
at Broadway Junction, all touching down,
wings extended for balance and
drag, simultaneously. I want
to be safe. Is this making me
unsafe? I have to admit
that safety is as real as I imagine it is.

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