In Chicago there are graveyards make your head spin
& ghosts often. They fill the air between brick
buildings & that’s what wind is. Sometimes
it feels like it’s just me & a crippled umbrella
against the world & all of its iterations, wave
after wave of bad history coming in
from the backward river, from the pretty waters by the Lake Shore.
In my apartment at my worst, unemployed
on a Tuesday night & for months, for example, an anachronism
visits. He is an immigrant
spirit seeking the place he carved out
the body of a hog for years in my loft space.
Instead he finds me, sleeping, splayed on a floral couch
while a woman is in my bed, & searches inside me
for meat nonetheless, finds nothing.
In the morning he tells me his name & where he’s from
is no longer included in atlases. His strong arms
will not weaken from being unworked. He pins
me down & I am crushed
but he of course has no body. Without a tongue
he speaks my name & it is silent
but for the polka music in his head, godawful,
the searching in mine for whatever it says
above my résumé or on the mailbox door but not for long.
The night she ended my life
there was like any other. It got dark
late in April, the neighbor in the window
did her sit-ups, I made tacos. It rained
which sometimes seems meaningful. She
spoke my name at the beginning of sentences
which sometimes seems meaningful. I wondered
while vanishing why we still bother with names when
there are so many cemeteries.