Boy Ghosts - Amy Rosenberg

I see all the ghosts all the time
the one who threw the fine, folded
laundry all around, laughing
the one who wondered over
red and yellow leaves, royal sky
the one who wailed, no longer loving
Molly Malone
now I have no favorite song, he cried
such a tiny container holding so much: 
the love for song, 
the sadness for its loss, 
the memory of love, 
the longing for song
again, something new

I see the ghost who once was a boy
who played baseball but loved fútbol
I see the ghost who once was a boy
who lost his boot in a snow drift so
I carried him home, the unfettered foot so cold, so
often I see the ghost of the boy who
wrote my name on a piece of paper a hundred times
and crossed it out each time
how I love the ghost of the boy who
rubbed his cheek against mine
sheeka, sheeka, sheeka he said
I want to know him I want
to know all the ghosts

there were cactuses in the desert we saw
the sunlight against the rocks change everything though nothing
the ghosts of the boy who hasn’t lived
yet are waiting to become
the ghosts of the boy who has
I remember the boy who was given a rowboat, 
history, the ghost who named it


Amy Rosenberg lives in New York City. She writes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, and is currently at work on a graphic novel. She teaches writing at John Jay College, Baruch College, and Queensboro Correctional Facility.