Robin Gow

Séance

We come with shovels—

            jabbing them into the dining room table.

 

What is left to talk about if I don’t talk about

            the body?                     If there is no body

                                    to discuss.

 

There is soil in every object just

beneath the moist surface.

 

            Fingernails on my throat—

I spit my dirt into the cosmos

 

            a dropped pot of skeletons.

 

We have a fire escape we could

cover with herbs.                      A rose bush

 

            sprouting from the only way out.

 

Shovels and spades and rakes.

 

Kissing a mirror not out of vanity

but to tell the creatures in there

            to come out.

 

Is this the first time you’ve tried

to talk to the dead?

 

            I set leeks out on the kitchen table.

Before my grandmother was dead

I pretended she was because

that was easier.

 

What must that be like—to be

the grandmother of a black hole—

 

            What does she know

about me that I could never

see for myself.

 

Coming to terms with being

the only creature

            still pouring with thought

 

I plea with ghosts

to tell me a story—to throw glasses

            down on the floor.

 

I want a poltergeist—

I want a possession.

 

Here there are my limbs what

will you make of them.

 

            So so much dirt.

 

Cannibalism of a memory

you play back to yourself

            on video tape.

 

Hold hands with ghosts—fingers

            cold and nervous

 

a link—a soft chain.

 

Ghosts asking ghosts

asking ghosts—

            how far down does this go?

Cabinet of Curiosities

My brother: two memories : a desire to collect metal :

 

A desire to collect metal : my mother : cilantro in mouth :

 

Saying prayers for ghost children : the tree in our yard : limbs rotting :

 

Recalling old limbs being sawed off: a desire to collect metal : saying prayers for ghost children :

 

Recalling old limbs being sawed off : a closet full of old shoes : frayed shoe laces :

 

Tying yourself tighter : saying prayers for ghost children : saying prayers for ghost children :

 

A desire to collect metal : a need to collect metal : an unborn daughter :

 

The size of a blueberry : singing to herself : singing to herself :

 

Limbs rotting : a prayer book from the flea market : written in German :

 

Asks for forgiveness : singing to herself : mice in the walls :

 

Twenty of them : trying to find food for their children : a feral cat :

 

Orange and white : mourning the porch light : asks for forgiveness :

 

Tying yourself tighter : a desire to collect metal : the blue station wagon :

 

Flat tires : paying penance : trying to find food for its children :

 

Singing to herself : empty fridge : white walls :

 

Humming to fall asleep : singing to herself : asks for forgiveness :

 

My father : gnarled white dad shoes : digging for his own ghost :

 

Digging for his own ghost : asks for forgiveness : recalling old limbs being sawed off :

 

Saying prayers for ghost children : the cistern : twelve feet deep :

 

Hungry for warm animals : hungry for warm animals : hungry for warm animals :

Robin Gow's poetry has recently been published in POETRY, New Delta Review, and Roanoke Review. He is a graduate student and professor at Adelphi University pursing an MFA in Creative Writing. He is the Editor at Large for Village of Crickets and Social Media Coordinator for Oyster River Pages. He is an out and proud bisexual transgender man passionate about LGBT issues. He loves poetry that lilts in and out of reality and his queerness is also the central axis of his work.