by David Swerdlow
our beautiful ghosts run down the hill.
“They love me,” I hear myself say (and why not,
why not? I query in my lonely voice to the hill,
to the maple). How long before they grow
out of their bodies? If I call their names, bid them
come home, they will. They’ll sit by our imaginary fire
and pretend to console me, and I’ll pretend
to be consoled (the hill and the maple, our old friends
fall asleep and wake up, comfort at least
in that, my dear). I’m planning to outlive
myself. Look at them. Behind the maple, they’ve undressed.
They’re putting on our old attire. Should we kiss them
before they disappear? Should we rejoice?
David Swerdlow is the author of two collections of poetry, Small Holes in the Universe and Bodies on Earth. His poems and essays have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Poetry, The Denver Quarterly, The Ohio Review, West Branch and elsewhere. He teaches literature and creative writing at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa. He has been a Fulbright Fellow and has taught twice on Semester at Sea voyages.