Ghost stories by Nixi Schroeder I am 13 when I have my first paranormal encounter: a whispered moan fizzling in the wind like a holler from a car window— “Ay girl, lemme get that pussayyyyyyyyy….”
My father does not believe me.
I am sixteen and it happens again, this time “Nice tits.” My mother explains this is a common psychic phenomenon. I am seventeen when a spirit at Wal-Mart asks what I have in my jeans; my boyfriend says this is a compliment, says I am lucky to hear such spirits speak.
I am nineteen. A wandering sprite asks if I want to get a drink. When I decline I am haunted for three hours through cafés, narrow streets, and alleyways by a shadow presence marked in eye corner glimpses. I do not go home for fear of the Ouiji board. I do not go to the police: the police do not believe ghost stories.
We all know a girl who wasn’t believed.
We’ve all been the girl who wasn’t believed: I have a friend whose ass was grabbed in a frat, a ghost hand leaving finger bruises as an invisible mouth suffocated her scream— she tried to call the ghostbusters but was threatened with retaliation, like so many girls are threatened with retaliation—another friend was the victim of possession— held down in her bed until she shrieked in silent tongues; the police asked why she was not carrying a rosary; her mother is still making monthly payments to an exorcist who has not told her to speak because he knows her voice is still another’s possession.
We all know victims of possession. I have an aunt who has scars across her cheeks from where her husband marked her as a possession; the police told her to stay in a haunted house to protect her children, now even after the restraining order she still receives visitations, her husband’s spectre rattling the chains which bind so many women, and at the end of this poem I will hear a harsh voice, whispering “not all ghosts,” whispering “quit being so dramatic—
one in five women are always so dramatic” and I will say, no, not all ghosts. Not all ghosts, but enough.
Other poems I read this week: (You can read the full poem in the link)
"And now: it is easy to forget what I came for among so many who have always lived here swaying their crenellated fans between the reefs and besides you breathe differently down here.
I came to explore the wreck. The words are purposes. The words are maps. I came to see the damage that was done and the treasures that prevail."
"It is your nature to be small and cozy, domestic and weak; how lucky, little tree, to have a pot to grow in. With living creatures one must begin very early to dwarf their growth: the bound feet, the crippled brain, the hair in curlers, the hands you love to touch."
-A Work of Artifice by Marge Piercy "I stood there for a minute in the rain. Considering myself to be the luckiest of men. Even though a wave of grief passed through me. Even though I felt violently ashamed of the injury I’d done back then. I bashed that beautiful window. And stepped back in."
"To be like plants on a sunlit windowsill of a city apartment—all the hours of care that go into them, the tending and watering, and yet to the casual eye they are just present —a brief moment of enjoyment."
Links of the Week:
Play: Post Haste
“The most important thing to develop in human beings is a sense of love, and an understanding of unconditional love. I’m not talking about the love towards a specific person, but love in a general sense; for life, for the planet, for purely existing.” - Marina Abramovic