by Sally Ball

In Arizona we have different ghosts
than you have back east.
You might assume I’m being coy—
politics, our love of guns and private prisons
and underfunded schools and botox
and silicone tucked under the skin
like a little shield to protect our hearts
What? Losing in the NFL?
The elimination of art and music and PE
and even Wednesday afternoons
from elementary school? But that’s not
what I mean. Not skeletons in the closet, no.
If we dig a six-foot hole
we use a jackhammer.
The earth’s crust here is asphalt
and cement, even in “nature,”
cement-like. To plant a rose
you use a jackhammer. To plant a shrub
I need someone (picture him) to bring a jackhammer.
Think of the ghosts.
They have to contend
with our inability to imagine them.
They transition with difficulty
between the surface of the earth
and whatever lies below.
We are prone to ashes, here.
We have claimed to love
the desert scorch and so we burn
in the end, which means
our kids, they less expect
the ghosts of yore. The ghosts we
presumed in the attics of New Jersey, Illinois.
These kids have enough to worry about.
They don’t hold their breath
driving by each Memorial Garden.
You’ll have to really work
to haunt us here.

Published on August 31, 2016