Spirits

But they do shimmer like the moon in a ditch,
or glare, baleful, back from the shallow depths

of a pan among the boiled potatoes: and if
the latter is the case, what they’re saying

is, believe it or not, old longings come back,
so please lay a plate of food on the counter—

savory or sweet, a little something
with which to wash these morsels down.

They speak in more than one syllable,
but only if you listen closely for their voices

in the middle of your dreams. If Woody
Allen can whisk you into another century

so you wind up drinking wine with Zelda,
shaking hands with Hemingway, and

dropping into Gertrude Stein’s parlor
in Paris, what’s so difficult about spirits

that hover at the edge of your bed? Like you
sometimes they’re a little afraid of the dark,

like you sometimes they only want the warmth
of a hand to hold as they ford the traffic, over and

over again from here to the other side and back.