Ghosts are not empty, nor are they sad.
They are parenthetical asides, bodiless,
with tiny outstretched hands. So what
if your eyes are the color of indigo ink,
your form the mold into which cement
is poured, then cools? Sunset is archetypal,
which makes it no less real. Anthophilous,
this landfill crisis isn’t going to go away
on its own. Have you seen that gargantuan
pile of abandoned tires? How quickly
passion becomes nostalgia, twining plant
with trumpet-shaped flowers, many of which
are invasive weeds. Go ahead, keep bragging.
I am not above throwing money at the problem,
but I have no money to throw at the problem, and
strategic disrobing is not a solution. For example,
you asked for an image of me, and so I sent you
a photo of my body, and you wrote back, upset,
saying what you wanted was a photo of my face.
I wanted to give you something beautiful,
metaphor not as decoration but thought,
say, but you rejected my dry goods store.
I love love, its tenderness and cruelty,
hypnagogic ode to what will be no more.
You whom I could not save,
listen to me. Listen to the sick murmur
of my cardiomyopathic heart. Give me this day
my daily rejection. Give me the train wreck
that is life in quarantine. Despite all evidence
to the contrary, I continue to make assertions of value.
I continue to mow my lawn in even horizontal rows.
Did you really think budget transparency was going to
solve all your woes? I don’t have industrial strength
or military grade anything. It’s just me and my
full-length mirror, running willy nilly into other
shoppers in the world-famed underground mall.
The past is a stunted tree fanged with ice.
The future is a vat of homogenized milk.
All hope is ceremonial. All time is analog.
The truth is, the good parts of my brain light up
when I do bad things. You whom I could not save,
give me an umpteenth chance or tender gesture:
the lifting of my chin with your steady surgeon’s hand.
Give me perfect disdain, your last flippant admission
to give zero fucks. So much comes down to what we
attribute consciousness. To be normal is victory enough.
At best, life is hard. At worst, life is easy.
I just want to edit out the heartbreaking parts,
screen shot of me on my knees, scouring for change.
Check out the pretty panties on that mannequin.
Check out the sound of ice cubes rattling
in my third whisky on rocks of the day.
Is that mirror reflecting me? The eighth
mystery of the world is when what is familiar
does not lead automatically to contempt.
Take marriage, for example.
Take the three- and seven-year itch.
I choose you, my escaped convict,
running ragged in the midst.
May someone prepare a hammock
for your body and drooping head.
I miss the church’s indulgences, miss
the days of traditional blessings.
Pick up the goddamn phone.
The sun is an education, but
it will be hours until daylight.
May the road rise to meet you,
God-fearing, neutered by labor.
May you not die alone.
Author of a poetry collection, The End of Spectacle (Carnegie Mellon, 2018), a collection of short stories, Anatomical Gift (Noctuary Press, 2017), and two chapbooks, including That Tree is Mine (dancing girl press, 2018), Virginia Konchan’s poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, Boston Review, and elsewhere.