An Orchestra of Country Ghosts

Thomas Leonard Shaw

I felt you down there

clawing up screaming

about me into me


(It was so long ago

when time was measured in rice fields

and ocean harvests)


there you lingered

ash clouds smoking your words

a cacophony of lullabies desecrating

tiresome elegies


(It is here I remember the first time

we made love in your tin-roofed room

the floor puddles of storm water and desire)


I rose held up by our ghosts

speaking of these post-partings

not realizing the distinctions

between memory and passing


(I wish I had burned my clothes

along with the coconut husk

ready to smoke your probing away


as if bloodsucking and love making

were the same thing the same union

draining into these paper-thin sheets)


I will not turn on the radio

Because static points towards disconnect

and this time I will not bury your longing


PROJECT GRACE-UP

NATIONAL LGBTQ+

WRITERS WORKSHOP