Best of the Net 2008  


Every star is a ghost, the new moon
a more recent ghost. The river
is a ghost because there has been

no rain since summer. It wears
a necklace of fish bones, the stench
of our sins. We raise our forks and fill

our mouths with ghosts. We raise
our glasses and drink them full
of ghosts. After the meal

we send the children outside;
the door bangs against the slow legs
of the ghosts who follow them.

Old and newborn ghosts look down
on our gray heads, spotted hands,
fingers too frail for their heavy rings.

Matches hiss, smoke spools
to the ceiling. We pass the jug
around again. The ghosts

of all the dogs we remember
from childhood nuzzle our feet,
nose the carpet for scraps.

-Pat Daneman (Apple Valley Review)