Saturday, September 13, 2014

Ghosts in the Chick Peas

Ghosts in the Chick Peas

 

There are ghosts

in the chickpeas. They float

in the bowl alongside their brothers—

Filmy coats, their memories

of clouds and sky.

 

I feel for them, the chickpeas--

I know what it's like to wonder

how many times I'll have

to go under to come out clean.

 

I know what it's like to be forced

to reconstitute, to become

what you once were or

as close to it as you can get.

 

And when I'm baptized, I too,

see the ghosts of my old selves

rise up. They ask me what I’d wish

for if I could be born again?

 

I tell them, it doesn't matter

because their doom is certain

while I, newly alive,

may become any dish

I like.






This poem first appeared in my book Kinlight: Homegrown Poems in 2017. You can see the first draft below is very similar. I've often read it together with another poem called Steam and Vapors because they have the same idea of leaving the comfortable place of being invisible or walked over. 

There are ghosts in the chickpeas,
their own memories of clouds and sky,
they float in the bowl alongside
their brothers.

I feel for them, for the chickpeas--
I know what it's like to wonder
how many times I'll have
to go under to come out clean.

I know what it's like to be forced
to reconstitute, to become
what you once were or
as close to it as you can get.

And when I'm baptized, I too, see
the ghosts of my old self rise up.
They ask me what I would wish
for if I were new again?

I tell them, it doesn't matter
because their doom is certain
while I, newly alive, may become
any dish I'd like.

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