This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Smaller Ghosts by Jennifer Moore, a book of centos released by Seven Kitchens Press in 2020.
At first a slight unsteadiness:
call it fear of thieves. An air
of sifting possibilities,
like smoke spiraling
before memory intrudes.
There are rooms I won’t enter.
This is as far as I go.
There, where the staircase
stops short, find me:
indecisive thing, all this reckless
tenderness, hiding my face
in my hands. Eventually
we are all asked,
Did you choose this?
The moon rising down
the yellow hallway?
This secret dark, a stolen cigarette?
Ghost, you’re a fool to think
you can bargain with a burning house.
Source texts (for all book poems): Claribel Alegría, “Rain,” Rae Armantrout, “Unbidden,” David Barber, “To the Trespasser,” Emily Berry, “This spirit she,” John Berryman, “Not to Live,” Frank Bidart, “The Ghost,” Linda Bierds, “The Ghost Trio,” Lucie Brock-Broido, “How Can It Be I Am No Longer I,” Emily Dickinson, [“One need not be a chamber”], [“The Zeroes—taught us—Phosphorus”], John Donne, “The Apparition,” Timothy Donnelly, “Globus Hystericus,” Carolyn Forché, “The Ghost of Heaven,” “Sequestered Writing,” Lola Haskins, “Patsy Sees a Ghost,” Mary Hickman, “Visionary Elegies,” Cynthia Huntington, “Ghost,” Mark Irwin, “Ghost,” Christopher Kennedy, “Ghost in the Land of Skeletons,” Dan Lechay, “Ghost Villanelle,” Dana Levin, “Ghosts That Need Reminding,” Vachel Lindsay, “The Spider and the Ghost of a Fly,” Robert Lowell, “The Ghost,” Nathaniel Mackey, “Ghost of a Trance,” Carl Marcum, “Cue Lazarus,” Paul Mariani, “Ghost,” Sarah Messer, “Prayer from a Mouse,” Eric Pankey, “Epitaph,” “Restless Ghost,” Elise Paschen, “Ghost, Fountain,” Carl Phillips, “Ghost Choir,” Edgar Allan Poe, “Lenore,” Lisa Sewell, “Letter from a Haunted Room,” William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Wallace Stevens, “A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts,” Keith Waldrop, “The Ghost of a Hunter,” Afaa Michael Weaver, “The Appaloosa,” Dara Wier, “Blue Oxen.”
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