My Father’s Ghost Visits me on Christmas Day
Although he still lives across the dull glowing country,
making my mother languish with his gifts of heavy jewelery,
his thumbprints bruised onto her ankles.
I had the whole the day spread out in front of me like
a morning smorgasbord at a red-tipped restaurant,
drunk with space and ignored obligations,
decked out in soft starred pajamas, eating canned peaches
with my fingers, on my second cup of bedside champagne.
I haven’t seen him for two years and he’s bluer around
his hairline, mouth twisted and pale. His suit jacket,
indigo, stained, hangs off his shoulders like it was made
for a much bigger man. He wants me to say something
to him, I know, so I reach across the bed and turn on
the radio, try to find something unseasonal and blaring
until jazz coats the air with bright yellow hisses. He’s
still there, doesn’t move or turn his head, just looks
thirsty and wistful, as if he wished there were something
I might give him. In a moment I will be after him
with a broom, rush him out the window, but for now
I just let him simmer in the empty air, learning
what it feels like to know you will get nothing from
someone who has their hands full of sweetness and gold.