…ghosts still resentful, ghosts far from home…
After Hwang Sok-Yong, The Guest
Mine are more benevolent, so I like to think,
though it may be Yankee reticence
that shuns the autopsy’s gutting,
an old eye impaling—
uncomfortable, that—for milder terms.
If they resent, they keep it close.
I tell Fred and Harry about the grandkids,
Fred’s great-great, and Harry’s great;
they try to smile their calcified lips
And for Uncle Philip,
how his medals finally came, and adorn my wall.
To the dead all talk is small.
To them it matters little what I say
talking to bones and scraps, words in the dark
though, for all that, if I were them—and I am—
I think I’d want to hear.
How many times have I made this trip
from mountains to town and back again
layering minutes on miles while the road which is the past
is swallowed in the mirror and another layer of future gets painted
under the wheels and I am only this plane of the present flat and thin
as a negative in black and white bearing this image
which keeps changing, changing and is nothing but same?
David Ackley lives and writes in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. His work has recently appeared in Per Contra, and over the long haul in journals including Prick of the Spindle; Camroc Press Review, where he was a 2015 Editor’s Choice honoree; Thrice Fiction and others.
Poems by David Ackley / Photograph by Kait Mauro