Poem of the Week, by Steve Healey

IMG_6661One of my daughters had a friend when she was little, a friend the rest of us couldn’t see. He had a strange name which we all loved. Sometimes we would check in on him. “He’s asleep,” was the most common answer. Sometimes “He’s visiting his grandma,” or even “He went away.” Once, disturbingly, “he died.”

The invisible friend was a shadow part of our family. Mentions of him made us laugh, but I used to wonder if he helped my daughter figure out the world and cope with it in ways I, her mother, couldn’t. It’s hard for me to be around small children, the way they march forward into the world despite their tininess. How their inherent, bewildering bravery propels them toward all the things that will break their hearts. How they keep going anyway.


How About, by Steve Healey

the house is haunted but
all the ghosts are nice ones
mostly nice but sometimes mean
when they eat our snacks without asking
how about there’s a ghost horse
with big snack lips but she’s nice and gives us
slow-gallop rides over furniture hills

all the ghosts are part of our family
but grown-ups can’t see them
how about I’m the daughter you’re the son
or we’re both half daughter half son
half comet half horse
going around the carousel

over there is the black hole where
we ate crackers and grapes today for snack
in that corner all the galaxies
that don’t care if we don’t
say please and thank you

how about Dad never says we have to clean up
this mess because he’s our tiny cute baby
he’s always napping in his crib
or he’s in the room where he writes poems
and inside him there’s a baby who has
another baby inside him

how about the babies have a war 
inside him and become orphans or
how about we’re the orphans in a poem
Dad writes then we’re adopted
by the ghost horse and off
we ride through the snowy air
we say the words 
and disappear


For more information about Steve Healey, please check out his website.

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Twitter and Instagram: @alisonmcgheewriter 

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