An Open Letter to a Ghost

The world revolves around opportunity and timing,
Like star-crossed lovers,
Opportunity is a butterfly, flitting about reality, an ethereal blip in time you can’t help but reach for,
Grasping one, or letting it slip between your fingers,
Leaves you with nothing but little wisps of sparkling dust to keep your sorrow company.

Timing is a speeding car on a race track,
‘Round and ‘round and ‘round,
Just as impossible to touch but repeating, recurring,
Always out of reach but never out of sight.

Oh, lover, we were a Greek tragedy,
Breaths taken, decisions made,
Butterflies with wings you broke trying to grasp them,
Never seem to grant me the route I felt in my teenage soul I should have.

It’s a tired tune,
Canon in D, a broken record,
Cliches are nothing to write home about, sweetheart,
Yet I pour to you my soul, a broken faucet,
A match that refused to light.

Or, still do.

If I am sands in the glass of time then you are the moon,
Ebbing and guiding the tides over and around me,
Keeping me grounded, coherent,
Never left out to dry like the feelings I once harbored in your ocean.
I see you through the eyes of late night melodies,
Read between the staph lines, darling,
And you can begin to understand how the world bends to your will,
What influence you have.

You are the soft, rhythmic thumping of a heartbeat,
Long, spindly fingers gripping into the bark of an oak tree,
Hoisting yourself up to a plane of happier existence just above the branches.
You were always meant for something greater than what I could provide you.

You don’t understand, lover, how I could write for years about the lines on your palms that match,
The lines between your eyebrows when you’re frowning ,
They are literal branches on the tree of life,
You would lynch me from them and I would still exalt you with every dying breath.
Your voice sings a 3-part harmony,
You are an entire symphony in one single note.

I sit with the trees, now,
Outside in the yard that smells of cut grass and broken swings and maybe a little bit of nostalgia,
Fabric softener and the drone of a cat’s purr,
I love in the moment, for a little while.

Like the gong of a bell 8am every Sunday
You’re consistent, but not enough to lose importance
I’m a bit of an atheist but I wouldn’t hesitate to devote myself to learning every way to make you
And how you smile with all of your crooked teeth.

You were the first girl I wanted to grow up in.
How could you not understand?

I still see you cast your final glance over an acne-scarred shoulder,
Regret burrowed in the slope of your spine.
Words unspoken branded in the lining of my stomach,
And when I looked at your hallowed silhouette
I wished for the first time I was not speechless.

Lover, you are the antithesis of me, like how we learned in chemistry,
Opposites do attract, but sweetheart, how I wish they didn’t.
It’s futile, really, these rantings of a teenage wannabe.

I still remember when you left your hoodie in my room.

I should have kept it.

Jason Carney