Issue Three:

Nancy Dobson

WINTER 2020/21

Poetry

Ghost

A sugar bowl committed suicide

when my back was turned, 

shiny blue and white shards

strewn across my kitchen floor.

I press my finger to the grainy puddle

to taste the grains, read them like Braille,

let them define themselves on my tongue.

It’s a message, my neighbor Claire insists

as she opens a bottle of Pinot Noir.

She settles in, slips off her shoes,

and I tell her, finally, about the summer

that crumbled into a cold November so long ago.

I tell Claire, I don’t believe in ghosts,

but some mornings when the house heaves,

sucks in every breeze, then blows out

cleansing breaths that shiver like steam,

I wonder at my own stuttered truth. 

This morning, I found a smudged handprint

on the dingy bathroom wall,

but when I stretched my fingers out,

it didn’t fit my hand.

Someone had time to linger.

Now Claire sips as if she has time.

She can afford to conjure fantasy when it’s not her house,

or her dishes smashed to the floor.

Soon the silence in these walls will begin to ache,

and she won’t be here to feel

the throb that echoes in my inner ear

and once again I’ll wish

half a bottle of wine was enough

to dissolve my doubt like sugar,

for a voice to splinter the blueness of time,

and find me finally broken enough,

to hear what he needs to say. 

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Nancy K. Dobson’s work, both poetry and fiction, has been published in various publications including Five on the Fifth, Noyo River Review, and Capsule Stories, and is forthcoming in Madcap Review. She’s on Twitter @nancy_dobson though she is not a frequent tweeter. She’s probably out exploring somewhere.

QUINCE magazine