By Robert Borski

Ghost flesh sears easily, like the skin of xeroderms.

This is why so few hauntings take place at noon.

The sun is a scourge. Photons burn like acid.

But when, as will happen up to four times a year,

a new moon (itself as well a ward of the sun)

swings into place and is positioned just right,

a liberating pall of darkness descends

upon the earth, creating a night as artificial

as the coverlet that douses a parrot’s cage.

Ghosts may walk at noon then. You can see them

shambling about if you angle your lenses of smoked

glass right. Quite a few look like boorish tourists,

wearing loud shirts, deriding local customs, afraid

to drink the water. But just as many others are watching

for those who have deliberately sought them

out: people like me, who, despite the prevalence

of tidal night, have never quite been lucky enough

to be haunted outside realm of dreams

or memories.

For years now I’ve been following the ephemeris tables,

chronicling the stately pavan of sun and moon, waiting

for the opportune eclipse. The geographic locus

for best observation has not always been ideal. Nevertheless,

when accessible, I’ve tried to arrange my disposition

and schedule so I could be there. Hence Africa today –

the once and future dark continent. Overhead,

as the sun begins to diminish, the air grows chill.

While I strain to view better in the murk, forms

are already condensing, like statues in a river

of black milk.

Then I spot her. And am stunned in heart and mind,

paralyzed to the core.

All the things I’ve wanted to say, the love, the regrets,

the apologies, the simple ordinary poetry of talking

to the most important person in my cosmos, each stalls

in my brain, I’m so happy to see her, to take my phantom

wife once again into my arms. Whence the poltice

of tears, as uneclipsed,

like some lunar pendant itself, my heart

lifts out of shadow,

our lips joining umbrally.

If only, if only, if only. Please, God, whatever

aspect of you governs

the clockwork universe, delay the planets

in their course

for just a few seconds more, and I will never

rebuke you again.

But then as the dark rim of the sun begins to brighten,

a rooster shakes its feathers nearby, crowing. Too early,

fresh kisses fade like smoke. Too soon, burning

like a flare, and somewhat

of a surprise,

the wrong one of us begin to dematerialize.

Robert Borski did not start writing poetry until he was well into his sixth decade, but is now pursuing the craft with a vengeance. On-line, his poetry most often appears in Strange Horizons; in print, in Star*Line. He has been nominated for the Rhysling Award thrice and continues to live in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

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