Haunted Passages: “The Unhaunted Poem” by Kim Sousa


X-Files child, I
always wanted to brush

up against the paranormal.
Grant me a final girl foggy day.

Though, in this only and on-
forever life, I never found any ghost

outside the mirror. Only bare fruit trees,
controlled burns, abandoned hives, their capped

and long-dry combs. Only strangers
with cheeks I kiss out of obligation,

not gentleness. Their go-with-God eyes
betraying no glint of recognition,

no inheritance. This is only some memory
or some photograph—whichever. A sign

neither of us can read for the other
in such stale and monolingual hallways.

The only language our proximity
to Death, her sour chrysanthemum mouth.

See, when my Tia tells it, the dis-
embodied hand in her bed shook

her until she woke, screaming.
And for my father, then barefoot and dust-

rubbed boy, the ghost was only a hammock
-hung daydream. A warning he felt—but not really.

A ghost, after all, is only a man.
It saves its violence for women.

Kim Sousa is a Brazilian American poet and open border radical. She was born in Goiânia, Goiás, and immigrated to Austin, Texas, with her family at age five. Her work can be found in EcoTheo, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Glass Poetry Press’ Poets Resist, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. In 2019, Kim organized and participated in Pittsburgh’s all-Latinx chapter of Christopher Soto, et al.’s “Writers for Migrant Justice” nationwide protest reading series and co-edited the benefit anthology of immigrant and first-generation poetry, No Tender Fences. She is currently submitting her first full-length manuscript and at home again in Austin, Texas, with a motley crew of backyard chickens, her two senior pugs, and her familiar, a black cat. You can find Kim at kimsousawrites.com and on Twitter @kimsoandso.

Image: thexfilesnetwork.com

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