Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Ghost Who Made Love To You

The ghost who made love to you
did it on the sly.

How many times did he see me reach for you?
How many times did your body turn to crows and scatter,
each black dot turning back to look me in the eyes?

The ghost who made love to you knew it wasn't instinct that drove you.
He lived, then died, biding his time.

I was candy in a ribbed paper cup,
dark and bitter, but not dark and bitter enough.

The ghost who finally won you knew it wasn't sweetness you wanted--
not fineness,
not pleasure,
not even love.

I am a summer aster,
someone else's favorite bloom;
bone china on the teak wood in a citrus-scented room.

And you, my last, my favorite love?
You have a man, the ghost, the one you chose;
the dust, the light, the moon.

the watercolor of asters is by Olga Sternyk, found on her page.



Cloudia said...

You always begin so powerfully

ALOHA from Honolulu

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wow! The body that turns to crows and scatters......the summer aster stanza goes straight to my heart. And your closing stanza sort of breaks my heart. Beautiful, loving, sad.

Susan said...

From beiing "candy in a ribbed paper cup, dark and bitter, but not dark and bitter enough." to "I am a summer aster,
someone else's favorite bloom; bone china on the teak wood in a citrus-scented room." is a wonderful double layered image of self in transition from decadence to something more solid. If a ghost could win the love, the lover is already half dead. I should know, having lost a precious person in 1996 and being dead to anyone else for too long after.

hedgewitch said...

I don't know how you make reading of such pain and loss so sweet, Shay, but this poem, despite its sense of fragile things broken and worth discarded, is nonetheless a pleasure to read, with sounds and colors and images as graceful as birds taking off from a lake in slo-mo. There is a reason ghosts frighten us.

Grandmother (Mary) said...

From the title on you paint such a compelling picture of love and loss and the struggle to understand. Calling yourself someone else's favorite bloom is particularly sad.

Mom said...

This makes me think of someone whose husband died, but she just can't move on. There you are, loving her, being there for her in every way you know how, but she just can't let go of his essence. And then there's all the talk about him being more sinister, dark, bitter, etc. ... you being the sweeter one, the obvious best choice. But the object of your affection just can't let go of this other person, who will always haunt her in precisely the way she needs him too ... even though he's obviously not a good guy.

I also see the emphasis in "you have a man." Not only was she choosing between you and "the ghost," but she was also making a choice between male and female, which hurt you even more.

The second stanza is my favorite.

Of course, it's also possible that the speaker is/was the spouse, and the beloved chose someone else.

Or, the person you lost may also have died. She may be a ghost now too.

Ooh, or what if you're talking about the Holy Ghost/Jesus? Maybe the decision was based on spirituality.

I love that so many interpretations are possible.

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

The loss is so palpable--and your images blow me away--made my day!

Mr Puddy said...

And you, my last, my favorite love?
I'm pretty sure It's me ! ...tee...heh
Handsome Mancat Puddy boy ;)

Mama Zen said...

Damn, this is beautiful.

Daryl said...

sad but oh so beautifully sad

Lynn said...


Jennifer Wagner said...

Ghosts are tricky things, in and out of shadow and light, like the dust that shows in the light of the moon. Wow, the scattering crows—what imagery is better to illustrate something/someone who cannot be caught when reached for, as they belong to another. I hear the loneliness in this of the one who was not the one chosen.

Kerry O'Connor said...

You know how to twist the blade in the heart of your reader by tapping into the small tragedies of failed relationships (my favourite kind of poetry). I spent a good deal of my young life being some boy or other's second best girlfriend, so I remember how this feels.

Love the Cohen too.

my heart's love songs said...

"the dust, the light, the moon."

gorgeous! LOVE this one, Sis!