This selection, chosen by guest curator Heather Leigh, is from Your Strange Fortune by Chloe N. Clark, released by Vegetarian Alcoholic Press in 2019.
Ballad of Silver Blades
I’m sure your ghosts will come
out of the corners of rooms
and the backs of closets, hidden
behind coats that haven’t been worn
since they were in style that year
everyone wore yellow the shade
Your ghosts will answer to every name
that you think to call them. Remember
how it felt the first time you realized you
never knew the middle name of your
grandfather? Ghosts will still answer, even
if all you call them is love or you there.
Ghosts carry no grudges, they can’t
keep up with them.
You will always wonder what became of your ghosts,
the ones you heard singing in the hallways
of emptied out buildings, the ones who
had such beautiful voices but only when
they thought no one was listening, the ones
who hummed instead when they saw you
could see them. One day you will ask for your ghosts
and your voice may shake and your
breath may come too fast, too shallow,
and you will wonder what time it is where
they are and whether they might
catch their trains, walk the distance,
reach you soon enough. Know, though,
that I’m sure your ghost will come,
they will always come, to hold you
as tightly as they can.