Sunday, 12 April 2020

Ghost of Myself

by Jessica Van de Kemp

Child of imaginings,
I greet you with three Dutch kisses
on a warship at Discovery Harbour,
hiding my new brain from the old sun.
Today, you are not a person,
but the black wings of a resin crow.
Sprechen Sie gobbledegook? 

On the northland bus to Penetanguishene,
I almost recall what happened to you—
the red blitzkrieg in a neighbour’s closet.
Details stashed into a grotto of my mind:
a ripping sound, fire, then mothballs.
Buzzards fly through stinking garbage
as you touch the legless piano into psychosis.

A new person after pit bottom, still
I can hear the goblin playing a corpse song
on the piano. The song is suspect.
You must not listen. You must
bypass the mind in search of darkness.
Sometimes, music is colour: blue-yellow,
red-green, a light the human eye can’t see.

Hey presto, my innocence. Yours.
What happened is a secret. What happens is
big, bull, hogwash says the bad green smell.
You must not wash the stink. Child,
do mud the ears. I tell the wharf ghost
about my night terrors: an arrow speaks
from experience, circle and down.

* * * * *

Jessica Van de Kemp is an award-winning teacher, poet, and PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo. She is the author of the poetry chapbooks Daughters in the Dead Land (Kelsay Books, 2017) and Spirit Light (The Steel Chisel, 2015). Learn more about her at:

1 comment:

  1. "You must bypass the mind in search of darkness." At times the only saving grace.