The ghost flies low overhead
like the sound of the airplanes landing
at JFK when it’s overcast. My husband suggests strategies
on how to deal with the ghost. Have you let it into your body? I ask him.
The baby only draws in purple. Purple curls over and over
like the shape of a curved spine or the letter C or the ghost.
We move her drawings around on the floor, looking for the right combination
that will decipher the message or link the code. I don’t want that ghost
anywhere near the baby, my husband says. When I look at him,
I only see the ghost. It is a bright heat that moves
through his body. It is painful to not be able to protect everyone
all the time. When the baby is overtired,
her cheeks and ears glow unnaturally red.
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.