Hollow ghosts live here.
Ghosts not tethered to time,
but to memories.
Ghosts haunting my mind,
feasting from my childhood.
My memories come to life from the shadows flickering around
every corner of every home I’ve lived in,
as though remembrance were a fire
dancing behind them.
Rumbling like thunder,
they stretch across the walls of my mind
late in the hour,
claiming rooms they’ve never stepped foot in.
A moment I thought was safe is taken over by them,
bloodthirsty beasts ravaging on
like it’s the last thing they’ll consume.
Their conquest goes unchallenged,
because behind all the membranous gore is this:
reaching out to me as we cross the river,
Montana water cold in my boots.
teaching me how to build a fire,
how to make it last.
whose voice I still hear in the mornings,
just before I wake.
who was behind every camera
but rarely in front of one.
I have a photo of him and my mother:
my mother is only partially in frame
contrapposto in stance,
cigarette dangling from her loose fingers,
the dog they bought days ago rolls in the grass,
belly to the sky.
And between them, in the center of the photo,
is my father’s shadow,
poised to capture his two loves
unaware that he captured mine, as well.
Now, his spirit does not haunt
but his shadow;
in every new home I will enter,
I will still see that captured shade
now shivering ebony woe,
and I will wait to hear his footsteps
his voice calling,
Art: Ritusri Halambi