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Adrienne Veronese

Poet, Novelist, Author, Essayist, Humorist

GHOST WORD

From the time when only men wrote about road trips

I squeezed myself into the narrative,

these winding roads my only companion

on this journey where mountains meet sea,

home neither ahead nor behind me

because it is a thing I carry with me at all times

& that is something which cannot change

any more than the migratory bird can change its flight path.

 

I revisit homesteads I passed through once

& in so doing pass by houses of the holy

lining rural routes on either side with their tidy facades

and biblical reasoning for paving over native lands,

promising sanctuary to anyone but women and children

because the order of the beast

is maintained only for the beastly rule that built it.

 

Ghosts of my future sneak up from behind,

the ghosts of my past still ahead

waiting as I travel down this lane

to a home that was never mine

not by title, not by birthright,

not even by DNA encoded in a golden band.

And yet these ghosts rattle their chains,

sandwich me between them

in a battle forcing me to see

they are little more than

digital apparitions

I cannot slay with my blade

or any other analogue device

proving once again no sword can vanquish

that which is little more than a projection of ourselves.

 

And the beastly rule

that renders the migratory bird flightless

brings charges against the displaced children passing through

when the only reason we stopped in the first place

was to defend them against the beasts in analogue armor,

protected in their pageantry as they try,

convict

& sentence us for indecency

because of the language we used

when all we were doing really

was speaking in tongues

the analogue of which

is a two-edged sword.

 

The spirit of a one-eyed man

watches from the kitchen he built by hand,

his eye taken by a storm as unpredictable

as the ocean with a wagon chain in its hand

leaving him to spin fables about unruly mares

and their well-placed kicks,

passing on a legacy of chains

as invisible as those ghosts rattling them

while waiting for me in the lane

waiting

waiting

to challenge me to a battle

no one else can see

a fight with swords and wagon chains

and raging oceans, with only

the order of the beast in

those tidy houses of the holy

sitting in gleeful judgment

having tamed the mare

but not the ocean

knowing full well,

all it takes to start the storm

is a single well-placed kick

and if it keeps on raining

the levee will break

eventually.

 

Leaving the art

of writing about leaving

up to the men in search of territory

not yet claimed by the beastly rule

while the women left behind

begin to suspect the best route

is that of the migratory bird,

claiming nothing while changing

the landscape with their very appearance

predictable to anyone paying attention

and terrifying to those ruled

by the order of the beast

because

as any ghost will tell you

appearance is everything

to those living

behind tidy facades

wearing analogue armor.

 

 

© Adrienne Veronese

Halloween 2019

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