30/30, Day #5, Karen’s Pick

The day five poem comes from Boston area poet Casey Rocheteau. I heard Casey when I was visiting Brian Ellis in Boston and went to one of the Whitehaus Family performances. I feel in love with her work. Casey is a fearless writer with a voice and performance all her own. Keep an ear out for her.

45 ghosts (for Kit)

“Do you ever have the experience
of seeing someone who’s dead?
Like, you know it’s not them but
all you want to do is stare
because you miss them?”

Kit is trying hard
not to be obvious about
the velocity of her eyesight.
We’re on the Orange line.
I tell her yes.

She doesn’t say who
on the train or otherwise
and I drift
thinking of how many times
I’ve seen my aunt Karen
getting on the train at JFK,
waiting in line at the bank,
ordering pizza.
Or my dad out of the corner
of my eye,
on a ladder, playing catch
in the park at Stony Brook,
crossing Dudley
like it was the River Styx.

I think of all the dreams
where I’ve asked
“what are you doing here?”.
How the Dreamverse crafts
his silences as
Dr Frankenstein’s monster:
harvest organs stitched in
from the body farm,
eyes sad as Orpheus’ lyre,
and here we are pulled
apart.

We can’t shake the re-membered
looking, the shape
of faces imprinted
in the optic center of our hearts,
though voices fade.

Me and Kit and
45 people waiting
to be ghosts, we move
underground,
memories crying out
like a cloud around us.
Shaking our hearts out to dry.

This trajectory is a thick hollow,
an empty tank ignited
by what is
and was
and how they look
just the same.


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