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Three Ghosts



A sweet young man my sister knows
Embraces friends and cosmos.
Stooped slightly, he worries his glasses
Like atheist beads. One night,
An argument of joy: how the laws
Of physics rule with infinite majesty,
A perfection to drive men mad.

Later I learned the news:
Two weeks before, his mother went for
What doctors call routine surgery.
She breathed deeply from the jasmine mask
And never came around.


I woke last night, wary, tingling,
as if a long-legged spider
had hunted across my brow.
In my dream the girl with sad
Brown eyes sat on my bed,

Asked of all that had passed since we last
Embraced. She wanted to leach
The poison from my mineral heart.
I would not tell her how.


Between physics and dreams lives
An explanation for what I saw tonight.
A shadow stepped across my hall
From left to right. Chilled, I was alone,
A twisted grip in my gut.

Was it air pushed by the ceiling fan?
Headlights from a prowling car?
I caught the movement in the mirror
And could not turn around.

About the Poet
E.L. Mallo is a writer in San Francisco. His poem "Feral" appeared here earlier this year.