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Thursday, January 12, 2012

238 Ghosts

[Part of a multi-part, epic poem currently being written surrounding events of June 9, 1972, The Black Hills Flood, during which thousands became homeless, hundreds and hundreds injured, and 238 people lost their lives in one night of flash flooding.]


They roam the land where I live

and yet I don't live here

they do

I am as invisible to them

as you are


They go shopping

for their invisible lunches

full of twigs and broken glass

they walk through the wrinkled hills

filled with steep evergreen canyons

as deep as wooden coffins

looking for nothing

but what they see

just empty towns

and houses without people


These collaborators in a dark parade

occasionally meet each other

nod, say hello

some know each other

others do not

Their silent conversations

contain broken tail lights and splintered siding

with knowing glances inside knowing eyes

unseen portraits to each other

slashed canvases covered in damaged oils

seething with life and love

none of it loud

quiet ghosts filling empty spaces


Magnetized by one day and the hours of rain

they stick to the sides of canyons

bits of bark trees and grass

an occasional coffee pot

part of a chair

the springs of a twisted bed

across the creek from a house

that stands to this day


Sometimes naked

they breathe as they remember

their last breath

the chest rises and falls

their last breath goes in and out

seconds after second minutes after minute

hours after hour days after day

their last breath makes them live for us


Copyright © 2012 by Barry G. Wick

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