I throw my daughter into the air
and her peels of laughter
wake the ghost, always lurking
in my blood. Today the ghost is effervescent
as fear, and my daughter’s eyes are half moons
of delight. The ghost is made stronger
by adrenaline. The ghost is one too many glasses
of red wine. I hold the baby in a gentle hug
and she slips between my limbs
like a mouse flattening itself
through a floorboard. The ghost is always with me
watching how deftly
the baby evades my affection.
Emily Hockaday is a Queens-based poet and editor. Her newest chapbook, Beach Vocabulary, is forthcoming from Red Bird Chaps. She is author of Space on Earth (Grey Book Press), Ophelia: A Botanist’s Guide (Zoo Cake Press), What We Love & Will Not Give Up (Dancing Girl Press), and Starting a Life (Finishing Line Press). Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, most recently Newtown Literary, The Maine Review, and Salt Hill. She is Associate Editor of Analog Science Fiction & Fact and Asimov’s Science Fiction, and she can be found on the web at www.emilyhockaday.com and @E_Hockaday.