Ghosts That Need Consoling
There’s a black smear, low on the door-glass,
as though something tried to enter here overnight,
this place of books and a desk, my workplace.
Not a paw print exactly but an oily three inch smudge
with particles visible—stomach contents or shit
the only two options, I think. Five panes
in the door, narrow, from top of the door
to its base, where I step in from blue schist,
a wedge shaped slab that comes to an arrow point.
I’m the arrow, riding the red horse, tail out,
and me without saddle, bridle, reins—
arms out, too, like a warrior on the fly.
If there are bears nearby, as I believe,
maybe there’s a way to learn their lore, a path
through dark woods by scent, feel, or a star.
There’s an orange leaf down below on green—
glowing like a starfish on a piling in the sea.
I’m going there, no one can stop me—lost,
I’ll find a bear or steer my way by dead
reckoning. Something needs settling, clearing
up, consoling—I told you something wailed
in the woods at night. It’s what wants in.
by Patricia Clark who is a poet-in-residence and professor of writing at Grand Valley State University. “Ghosts That Need Consoling” first appeared on a Chicago website, www.escapeintolife.com