What a Ghost Feels
Once they were dark whispers
that lived under beds and in closets,
so real she could feel sandpaper fingers
brush an arm or a leg left exposed
above a worn chenille bedspread.
Today she knows their nightly forays
were more hope-filled than horrifying,
an attempt to warm a handful of bones
next to the inferno of her young life.
And now she floats through school halls
with papers to grade and files to fill
while young eyes gaze right through her
and she tries to hook a bony finger
around a smile to acknowledge she exists.
She longs to release a blood-curdling
scream or snatch up a freshman for lunch
to force her way back into their reality,
to feed on their hopes and dreams and future.
Yes, she knows what a ghost feels,
to wake in the middle of a cold night
thinking it’s time to rekindle the hearth fire,
only to find her finger bones scuttling
across the covers of a child’s bed.
Published in The English Journal, NCTE, Summer 2006