By Richard LeDue

Emptied of Desire

The dark circles under my eyes
are hallow, the pillow a sponge
for my sweat, blankets too
easily pulled away
in the middle of the night,
and the dream journal from my youth
full of crooked words,
describing eyelids that dared
to take shape among the space
between stars, yet I hid from the moon
because it meant things to do with
apologies for brushing hands
or staring at a stranger,
who looked like a time travelling lost lover,
only for me to accept the years
empty in one direction
towards graves, quiet as beds.

Over Our Shoulders

We all should welcome death
with kitchen table place mats,
and offer every condiment,
but warn of spilling salt
because superstitions live longer
than most, and to those who believe
I'm lying, I dare them
to break a mirror, or walk
under a ladder.


A naked Winston Churchill
making Abraham Lincoln's ghost smirk
reminds me
how unhaunted our lives can be:
not answering the phone while driving,
saying “No, thank you”
to the second beer,
complaining about dental floss,
smiling at the sun
(as if it had a mouth), and
licking the icing from a knife
after refusing a piece of cake
because the doctor upped
your diabetic medication-
not all ghost stories need a death,
but we like to pretend they do.

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