Raising the Ghost Year

We swept into the new year—danced the blitz—
then staggered home to the hills of Los Altos, not as high
as we’d like to have been, the lost days falling from our arms.
Four of us crowded into the cabin, slept on floors, 
all black and white and gravelly gray. Remember the way 

you kissed me then, as if the world didn’t mean anything
and yesterday was just a song on the hit parade?
I bawled and bustled, wrote poems, heard the Grateful Dead 
singing a storm, watched someone stir pots of soup in the park.
You sold the Saab, thyme spread like crazy in our garden,

and all we talked about was getting back east. I saw
December 31st riding on your shoulder. A ragged shadow 
did a flash-boom dance across the backyard. I couldn’t
shake free, found myself sheathed in months and Mondays, 
sealed up in numbers. We dropped acid, counted out

our food stamps for the next day’s meal, rode north
to harvest redwood driftwood from the beach in hopes
of selling it on city corners, the exhaustion of the day before
like a tattered shirt on our backs, the smell of humanity
rising, cars parked one behind the other, buildings

black as melted tar, but the road a shining path.
Those days all scattered now. A whirlwind of years
plucked and thrown along the street. Eventually we made it
back east, split, took up ordinary lives, turned pages,
looked at books, lost  years, papered in feathery days.

Atlanta Review
Fall/Winter 2018