Ghosts reading people stories

(Having a hard time with the 4th this year suite — poem 2)

I have a sweatshirt with little ghosts —
the kind like white water droplets with faces
and they’re sitting around a campfire
with a grandma ghost
reading a book called “People stories.”

You can see how scared they are —
eyes wide open
and their imaginations portrayed
as the hovering of
enormous, malevolent creatures.

And my imagination
conjures the ghosts of all of those
who hoped
in good and broken ways
to make this country
free and just and welcoming to all —

who believed in liberty
emancipation, suffrage, civil rights,

who rose with courage
when everything was taken from them
and so many treaties broken,
who survived slavery,
jim crow, the new jim crow,

who saw the Statue of Liberty
welcome them, and
made restaurants and became doctors,

who farmed, taught children,
fought wars,
registered voters, opened the polls,
danced at inaugurations,
who protected wild lands,
fed the hungry,
marched the streets for the most vulnerable,
protected students from shooters.

And for these ghosts of independence day
we have nothing to read
but an anthology of terrible tales.

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2 Responses to Ghosts reading people stories

  1. Jessica McArdle says:

    Thank you, Maren. The portrayal of ghosts sitting around the fire in terror (when we’d like to think they’re the terrifying ones) speak volumes.

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