revenant 1

                                                            Queer ghost whose aspect is focused backwards . . .

                                                                               Jennifer Moxley, “Behind the Orbits”


Queer revenant whose other face—Janus, owl-face—whose dark side

is glimpsed in a mirror, hinged—


Squint apparition whose profile, blurred—an aspect barely caught,



                   whose home is a dictionary, a book of hours,

of dwindling accounts—

whose home is a mildewed bible, screen

of shrouded insects


                  whose presence is rarely noted—a word at the back

of the tongue, the word abandoned then found in a 20-year-old notebook,

a balled-up grocery list, unwanted flyer—a word saved before sleep

yet unlocatable in any of the morning’s files


Eccentric, spectral, poor Yorick—blackened scarecrow whose bones

the children play with behind the wasp-filled woodpile


                  whose body is beaten, crushed under our wheels, flung

over bridges—rendered bread for gulls and meat for eels, bottom-feeders


Alas, poor prince, whose book of venom—who, folded fatherless,

lingers in our poems—who, given to earth, returns



                               whose words return as hay wisps picked up

by birds, as bits of used paper and string


                               whose words are carried to the rooftops, elm tops,

steeples—trail from passing balloons


Slant shadow whose trace can be read only in the last moments

before sunrise—


                    who, persistent, haunts the ear’s inmost chamber,

the flickering cursor


                               cadence or watersurf, a dying fall—a dead thing