Hauntings

The word revenant comes from the French revenir:
a coming back, meaning a person who has returned 

from the dead. In Spanish, a person who reappears
in this way is a ghost: fantasma, espectro, aparición.

My ghosts do not seem interested in only one 
form of return: ninuno, anino—all my forebears, 

the line of ancestors starting with those I knew
and could see until they became photos in an album,

traced back to those who lived in some shadowy 
level of the cloud canopy but wondered what life

on the ground might do to hands and faces 
and mitochondria. Multo, related to muerto:

disembodied souls who float around in basements 
or attics, send their music through the plumbing, 

their morse code through radiators and wind 
chimes. So many more felled by bullets or bayonet 

thrusts in the last world war: their bodies
rolled in reeds, their decomposing fragrance 

an unmistakable note in the wind. There are 
not enough words for every kind of haunting,

especially the ones that pass through us or sit
without moving in the middle of our lives. 

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