Elly McDonald

Writer

Ghosts (1986)

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walking onwards, then at once
pulled up
pulled back – as if by an image reflected
in a window, a face one-known
your own
aged features – sharp-edged, so
white – a bloodless light hand
reaches out
touch finger touch phantom a skeleton bridge
half-flesh, half-hope: the ghost
behind your eyes steps out, stands beside you
but it can’t be
you at all

not this time.
In half dark (half-light into
night), it’s someone you remember:
someone else.

Your stare mirrors his; the ghost you’ve become
sees itself living, behind
his eyes reflected; in the present, it relives
a scene from the past.
It stares through a window and sees you both
there – profiles overlapping, fingers touch
flesh… the man (who is him) looks up
stops
stares out the window, straight at the phantom, half-sees
through shadow: he says
I once knew her
The girl with him smiles (she is you, and she smiles)
Go on, go and tell her
‘good to see her again. Go out there
and talk but
He looks away and whispers
She won’t talk to me now

now on this street
you stop, you stare
you can see yourself touching (white lip touches
shoulder), phantom lips
plead promise me
don’t ever walk past me, don’t let me
walk past
No matter what happens, whoever
we become, I will always
stop:

Stop here for me now

Author: Elly McDonald

Australian-born, with English mother, has lived in several Australian cities and in London. Travelled widely. Way way back when, published widely as a poet and short story writer.

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