Tuesday, October 31, 2023

The Ghost Light

At night, or, for that matter,
Whenever the theater
Is closed and otherwise dark,

The body, superstitious,
Puts a ghost light on the stage.
Sometimes, nothing much happens,

But usually the ghosts
Of the waking theater
Feel invited to the light.

What would you say they are like?
The traditional reply
Would be moths, but no, not quite.

They’re less substantial than that.
There’s no life in them to burn.
They can’t be seen in the light.

They do flutter weightlessly.
They do take circular flights.
They’re costumed by memories,

But they’re not. So what are they?
Or, again, what are they like?
Wind, maybe? Discarded trash,

Empty bags spun in the air
By that wind? That’s the problem.
They’re something. They’re in this world.

They’re not nothing, but you can’t
Say anything true of them
That accurately defines

Them as they are. They return,
Whatever they are, full flight,
And, if they don’t, you will die.

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