My hand now placed on my thigh. Where your hand used to rest. I understand my own weight more like a leg coming out of sleep. I understand why birds migrate and why I’ve never held anything small with feathers. Your hand on my thigh. Your hand not on my thigh. I’m still a thigh frozen in the grocery store. Styrofoam bed creaking. Raw cuts. Cold waiting. How was I pumping blood days ago and now I’m tundra looking to thaw? Why will I still end beating hot boiling mad. Because you’re not here, I have to ask myself more questions. Are we out of milk? How many more eggs are left? What do I want for dinner? Do you remember how difficult it was to shop together? I could never tell you what I wanted—even from the next aisle over. You could never read my mind. The list forgotten at home. The coupons cut but lost. I could never tell you—I hated the idea of buying food just to eat it in minutes. Taming this craving lined tongue. The fun house mirror hungering eating my stomach. What I really wanted to do was to burn the entire place down. Start with the produce. Rub two carrots together until they break a spark. Watch it all go up in orange flames while I eat fried chicken from a bucket across the street. Watch the crowd migrate away.
Ghost Heart in Shape of Blue Hydrangea
I want to be your meaning of nature. The one outside of me. I want to be outside of us. I want to be the one word I got correct on the spelling test, Hydrangea. I want to be another word. I want to be the word, blister. Blister is the answer to the question. I want to be the answer to the question, or I want to be the question. I want to be, “What does the end of a relationship look like?” I want to be, what are we the ghost of? Ghost of blisters. Ghost of paired bodies measured by cold used tea bags. Ghost of every breath of wind that has blown through your hair and then into mine. Ghost of past sweat between our palms. Not Ghost of our ending but Ghost of you sitting next to me. Ghost of the living. Ghost of once I told my mother my heart wasn’t beating. Ghost of once we saw your mother’s heart stop beating. Ghost of that rural western Kentucky hospital that felt more like a small school. I want to be a heart that doesn’t want to climb out of its own body. I want to be a heart that wants to be a Ghost of. I want to be a blue Hydrangea. I want to tell you Ghost of man dreaming of moving. Ghost of man still. I want to be words crawling from my teeth grinding back into you. Ghost of stopping to plant a ghost heart. Beat once if you can still hear me.
-- Morgan Eklund’s poetry has appeared in the North American Review, The Louisville Review, Typishly, ABZ, Whiskey Island, and other national journals. In 2020 she was nominated for the Best New Poets, and in 2017 she received a Pushcart Prize nomination. She is a 2006 alumna of the Kentucky Center Governor’s School for the Arts and is currently pursuing her MFA in Poetry at Northwestern University.