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About this Poem 

“Call me superficial, but if anyone tells me they’ve seen a ghost (or an angel or an alien), my first question is, “What were they wearing?” For the record, I’m quite sure I have seen a ghost—my grandfather after he passed away. He was wearing his usual work clothes, a short-sleeved shirt with baggy grey pants. I’m surprised he wasn’t smoking his customary cigar.”
Elaine Equi

Ghosts and Fashion

Although it no longer has a body
to cover out of a sense of decorum,

the ghost must still consider fashion—

must clothe its invisibility in something
if it is to “appear” in public.

Some traditional specters favor
the simple shroud—

a toga of ectoplasm
worn Isadora-Duncan-style
swirling around them.

While others opt for lightweight versions
of once familiar tee shirts and jeans.

Perhaps being thought-forms,
they can change their outfits instantly—

or if they were loved ones,
it is we who clothe them
like dolls from memory.
 

Copyright © 2015 by Elaine Equi. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 6, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by Elaine Equi. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 6, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Elaine Equi

Elaine Equi

Elaine Equi is the author of numerous poetry books including, Click and Clone (Coffee House Press, 2011).

by this poet

poem
When a poem
speaks by itself,
it has a spark

and can be considered
part of a divine
conversation.

Sometimes the poem weaves
like a basket around
two loaves of yellow bread.

"Break off a piece
of this April with its
raisin nipples," it says. 

"And chew them slowly
under your pillow.
You belong in bed with me
poem

The sky is melting. Me too.
Who hasn’t seen it this way?

Pink between the castlework
of buildings.

Pensive syrup
drizzled over clouds.

It is almost catastrophic how heavenly.

A million poets, at least,
have stood in this very spot,
groceries in

poem
despite books kindled in electronic flames.

The locket of bookish love
still opens and shuts.

But its words have migrated
to a luminous elsewhere.

Neither completely oral nor written —
a somewhere in between.

Then will oak, willow,
birch, and olive poets return
to their digital tribes —

trees wander back to