it is too easy to be a ghost,
to phantom lonely through this tired world,
your fingers touching everything
but never really holding,
the world passing through
your eye, but never having to stay.
do you know the gift of flight?
to enter a life & remain unseen,
float through every conversation
till they begin to doubt a second
presence in the room.
i was x years old the first time
my friends conducted a séance
just to reach me.
i consider nothing else true love.
sometimes you want to make a fuss,
to bang your fist on the table & scream,
i matter. but you are not.
your hands too gone, too faint to even
leave scratches on the wall.
some days, all you want are scratches
on the wall,
something to pin him to this house with.
say, a memory of his hands bruising
the new paint,
but your earliest memory of him is his face
scratched out of every family photo,
his ghost kept out by your mother.
you did not gift yourself this tragedy,
this constant vanishing without enough
apologies to fix the holes you left behind.
*This poem was shortlisted for the 2020 Bloomsday Poetry Competition sponsored by the Embassy of Ireland, Nigeria. More details here.