Kimberly Dawn Stuart

Ghost

There is something beyond
the tree line toward road
and red house of the dead
man I never knew. I can feel
it like a sunburn sprouting
from the back of my neck,
down shoulders, blisters
forming like buds—it
prickles. Also, it rained last night,
and wet leaves are not discreet,
so rustling is amplified
and concentrated. Then there
is the horse along the way
who has stopped her gnawing
to stare in the very direction I am
talking about.

It becomes a game of chicken: me
or the horse. Who will run first?
I suppose we could team up and charge
the thing. I could shed this robe into
grass like dead skin, a pupa of hair
and tits, and we could ride
the sound together.

But what good would that do? Neither
of us has claws or fangs, and anyway,
by this point, we’d both be disappointed
if all we found was a bear or a boar
or a body.

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Kimberly Dawn Stuart's work has recently appeared in Rust + Moth, Louisiana Literature, 8 Poems, Barren Magazine and Deep South Magazine, among others. She lives in New Orleans with her husband, the writer Marley Stuart, where they direct the small press River Glass Books.