What to Feed a Ghost
Written By: Pat Daneman
Pancakes, set out on the windowsill,
easy to steal. A bowl of sour cream
alongside, dimpled with gnats,
a handful of rotting berries that taste
of attics where steamer trunks sit
in corners and dust traces the shadows
of old women’s fingerprints.
Sneezes with salt, wind beaten
into a shimmering froth like the face
of a lake in angry spring. Dog bites,
cat scratches, greasy bag of three
sharp knocks against a locked door
late at night. Stolen child’s last footsteps,
unwritten symphony’s final chords,
long lines of your hated uncle’s stories,
onion breath dragging between every word,
as he waits for a letter from across the sea
that never comes. Sand-crusted
banana peels, brook trout jiggered
from rusty hooks, charred pages of Bibles
sifted from a library fire. Pile it on tables
with steam rising like the scent of blood
from a hatchet accident. For thirst,
a sponge that swiped the bathtub rim,
wiped an ashtray. No napkins. No dessert.
Ghosts will eat anything—glad to be hungry again.
About the Author
Pat Daneman is a New Yorker transplanted to Lenexa, KS. Most recently, her poems have appeared in Escape into Life, The Moon City Review, Bellevue Poetry Review, Stone Canoe, and The Comstock Review. Her chapbook, Where the World Begins, was published in 2015 by Finishing Line Press.