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Paul Mariani
Paul Mariani
The oldest of seven children from a working-class background, Paul Mariani was...
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FURTHER READING
Ghost Poems
Hamlet, Act I, Scene I [Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes]
by William Shakespeare
A Ghost
by Cole Swensen
All Hallows Night
by Lizette Woodworth Reese
At Night
by Yone Noguchi
Blue Dementia
by Yusef Komunyakaa
Blue Oxen
by Dara Wier
Epitaph
by Eric Pankey
Ghost Elephants
by Jean Valentine
Ghost House
by Robert Frost
Ghost in the Land of Skeletons
by Christopher Kennedy
Ghost Notes [excerpt]
by Ralph Burns
Ghostology
by Rebecca Lindenberg
Ghosts That Need Reminding
by Dana Levin
Hallow-E'en, 1915
by Winifred M. Letts
Haunted Houses
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Haunted Seas
by Cale Young Rice
How Can It Be I Am No Longer I
by Lucie Brock-Broido
Lamp or Mirror
by Tony Barnstone
Lenore
by Edgar Allan Poe
Letter from a Haunted Room
by Lisa Sewell
Low Barometer
by Robert Bridges
My hero bares his nerves
by Dylan Thomas
Ode to a Dressmaker's Dummy
by Donald Justice
Patsy Sees a Ghost
by Lola Haskins
Poems About Ghosts
Rain
by Claribel Alegría
Red String
by Minnie Bruce Pratt
Restless Ghost
by Eric Pankey
Sequestered Writing
by Carolyn Forché
Shadwell Stair
by Wilfred Owen
Shaking the Grass
by Janice N. Harrington
Something Whispered in the Shakuhachi
by Garrett Hongo
Song for the Clatter-Bones
by F. R. Higgins, read by James Wright
Spirit Birds
by Stanley Plumly
The Apparition
by John Donne
The Ghost Has No Home
by Jeff Clark
The Haunted Palace
by Edgar Allan Poe
To the Trespasser
by David Barber
Unbidden
by Rae Armantrout
We're All Ghosts Now
by Dara Wier
What They Found In the Diving Bell
by Traci Brimhall
When There Were Ghosts
by Alberto Ríos
Whose Story of Us We Is Told Is Us
by Shane McCrae
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Ghost

 
by Paul Mariani

After so much time you think 
you'd have it netted 
in the mesh of language. But again 
it reconfigures, slick as Proteus.

You're in the kitchen talking 
with your ex-Navy brother, his two kids
snaking over his tattooed arms, as he goes on 
& on about being out of work again.

For an hour now you've listened, 
his face growing dimmer in the lamplight 
as you keep glancing at your watch 
until it's there again: the ghost rising

as it did that first time when you, 
the oldest, left home to marry. 
You're in the boat again, alone, and staring 
at the six of them, your sisters

& your brothers, their faces bobbing 
in the water, as their fingers grapple 
for the gunwales. The ship is going down, 
your mother with it. One oar's locked

and feathered, and one oar's lost, 
there's a slop of gurry pooling 
in the bottom, and your tiny boat 
keeps drifting further from them.

Between each bitter wave you can count 
their upturned faces--white roses 
scattered on a mash of sea, eyes fixed 
to see what you will do. And you?

You their old protector, you their guardian 
and go-between? Each man for himself, 
you remember thinking, their faces 
growing dimmer with each oarstroke.






From The Great Wheel, published by W. W. Norton & Company, 1996. Copyright © 1996 by Paul Mariani. Reprinted by permission of the author. All rights reserved.
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