Some houses are full of ghosts,
some people can hear all of them
but most never notice.

No particular reason for it,
it’s just different levels of ectoplasmic
sensitivity, nothing to do with genetics

or upbringing, one of those random
assignments of ability we’re stuck with,
this one making no difference in wealth

or stature but still the occasion for envy,
the kind of soul-stab that drags us out
beyond the grave. Infinite suction.

When was the last time a ghost scared someone?
Probably today, but it barely caused a tremor,
just a tiny unevenness of footing

on a carpeted floor, not even as much
nervous effect as a big hairy bug would have.
But still those phantoms are our kin, evidence

that whatever we’re made of
has a life after our own, our particles
maintaining momentum

past the biological organization of body-form.
Some of us accept science more than others,
but none of us succeeds in banishing belief:

our skin tells us a lot, shaking conduits
to our brain, finding a few storage cells
that become part of our mixed grasp,

so that built into every concept
is the shadow of its own doubt,
a healthy way to be inhabited by phantoms.



Hassan Melehy lived all over the US before settling in North Carolina. His first poetry collection, A Modest Apocalypse, was published by Eyewear in 2017. The son of immigrants, one from western Europe and the other from the Middle East, he sometimes writes about his experiences as a second-generation American. You may find out more about him at www.hassanmelehy.org