Colby Cotton \ Spring 2015
To Love a Ghost
I was married to my wife for thirty years,
lived with her ghost another ten.
She died on a Saturday, and I saw her
again on a Tuesday. It was fall, orange
and yellow leaves surrounded her
like ashes in the yard,
I hadn’t seen her for three days,
and it was as if she’d never left.
I linger on these moments,
like memory, how it felt so natural
with the grass peeked through her knees.
She pulled a leg to her chest and we watched
the sunrise like a sore over the hillside,
giving trees their definition,
and I wasn’t afraid. It was more
than I could have asked for. I closed
the screen, and she followed me
in, silent. I drank coffee black
while she lay again on the couch,
I read her the paper cover to cover.
She’s up all night; I’ll wake in the dark,
and she’s at the foot
of our bed, making charcoal sketches
of the moon, following the phases week after
week. I watch the turn of her hand. The shades
of lunar craters, Kepler, Tycho,
the empty seas ease me back down.
And when I sleep, I feel her above and below
me, her slow drift in the rafters, crawl
through wood grain, hardwood floors.
She’s curled in a chair all morning, sleeps
through the afternoon.
I don’t take phone calls
anymore. I go on long walks.
I visit our son across town,
come home and the house is silent.
I sit on the floor
beneath her, and I wait until she wakes
in time for the nightly news,
when she puts a hand through my head,
trying to touch my hair.
Colby Cotton is from a small town in upstate New York. He is currently attending Alfred University, studying literature and creative writing. He is graduating in May and is currently applying to MFA programs for both his poetry and fiction across the east coast in the United States.