I See a Ghost

Far along Boston Common, funnily enough,
I saw the apparition of someone I knew
Still alive, but now much paler,
Holding a plastic cup and begging for spare change.
You didn’t recognize me.
Maybe it’s been too long
And my hand didn’t go through you
As it does in the movies.

Then on the corner of Tremont Street
I saw you once again, this time
Bumming a cigarette. You appeared
Different: your face had withered, you were
A bit sadder, and you didn’t don a cap.
You didn’t recognize me.
I thought our chance meetings happen only
In my dreams. Every body here is just
Recycled scraps from my past.

If I were to have you dead, which I’d like,
I’d keep you in a portable coffin
So you’d always be with me
But couldn’t speak a word to hurt me.
Don’t you just hate when the dead speak:
I saw enough of you when you were alive
And I’m not your ouija therapist.

picture: “Untitled Drawing,” Louise Bourgeois (mid-1960s)

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