07/05/2011 08:05 pm ET Updated Sep 04, 2011

Poetry: Ghost Stories


Image courtesy of Emma McNally

Ghost Stories

Because fire coaxes the carbon from wood
and releases it back to the atmosphere,
we gather around it and watch.

It is our favorite kind of destruction, contained,
intentional. We made it, and it makes
itself, burns whatever we feed it.

Fireside talk turns to ghosts. It is inevitable.
A spirit speaking through the stereo,
sparking light bulbs, blown fuses.

A familiar presence but no body, hovering.
The scent of this person we loved,
it overwhelms us and evaporates.

Above, the trees press against the dark sky,
the world's shattered windshield.
Smoke lifts toward it, a ghost.