Ghosts Without Moonlight
What happens when there is no longer any moonlight
for our ghosts to belong to?
They keep trying to resettle into their old names.
They pick through scraps
of the morning’s silences.
They wait inside our mirrors
through the still afternoons,
then add their regrets together
into another evening,
where they flutter around the streetlights murmuring,
using our lost buttons as currency,
counting the syllables remaining to us.
Soon it will be another winter. All our voices
will be seen. The trees will no longer
offer us oxygen. The grey roads
will wrap themselves around our feet
and beg for salt. We will have to eat
from the other side of the world.
While telling fantasies to our children
to make them believe there might be
some reward to all this.
We will join with the others in the ceremonies
of renewal. Which we know mean only
that we are growing older.
Allow Yourself to Sleep
November was mourning. We remembered
the voices of friends. Now
it is the first day of winter.
The deaths continue. They are
documented. An afterlife, as a number.
We exchange one technology
of memory for another. We write
over faded photographs. Then write over
what was written. Can you remember, clearly,
the faces and names of all your lovers?
Language is an accumulation of errata.
We were writing as our friends became statistics.
Michael Battisto has work that can be found or forthcoming in About Place Journal, The Shore, Josephine Quarterly, MoonPark Review, HAD, Frogpond, and elsewhere. Born in Chicago, he has lived in New York, Wyoming, Arizona and Texas. Now he lives in Oakland, California. Find him at michaelbattisto.com.