It is essential to imagine
one thing as another — as when
the small hard winter apple becomes
a globe for the dollhouse schoolroom
where the rubber children learn
their geography; as when a pan of mud
is really quicksand, and in it G.I. Joe
is sinking, sinking, until a buddy
pulls him out in time; as when the old
round wooden drying rack, with all
its bare arms up, is your helicopter,
rising over the shores of Okinawa,
where you will find your brother,
not yet broken, and carry him home.
So it’s just you and me, sad ghost
dissolving so quick by my side.
And we’re all down to senses – beer snap,
smoke taste – and the handful of photos
boxed on a high shelf that I’ll never climb.
Farewell, then, to the love and the hate
of it, to the shattered vase and the purple,
predictable vine. Now the stories you could
not tell will never be spoken, the demons
you never named all blanks on the line.
Brother, it took me twenty-three months
and four countries just to be here –
where I stand, with one foot by
your grave, and one in the clear.
Spell for Vanishing
That clatter of plates is her
warming up to the old story. The house
in Hawaii that wasn’t. Pineapples
growing on cartoon trees she’ll never
see. Brad is the name of the ghost,
and you already know his sea-color eyes,
the size of the ring, but still
you keep listening, wiping the same pot
over and over.
Then, just like that,
she’s wished you all away — four kids
not born, your father dispensing
the sacraments in a parish by the bay.
You’re his, not hers, you’ve always
known it. Which means,
right now you don’t exist.
Rose Solari is the author of three full-length collections of poetry, The Last Girl, Orpheus in the Park, and Difficult Weather, the one-act play, Looking for Guenevere, and the novel, A Secret Woman. She has lectured and taught writing workshops at many institutions, including the University of Oxford's Centre for Creative Writing at Kellogg College.