portion of the artwork for Aïcha Martine Thiam's poetry

ON THAT GHOST WE SAW IN THE PARK IN POTOMAC
Aïcha Martine Thiam

we lie under arched ceilings
of sugar
maple trees. was it dark, a
another
evening of fogs and shadows?
no, just me
dressing up plain-ish stories
as always.
was more near soft-like, golden,
and mothers
chasing somber mood-clouds have
sent us off
to chase sleeveless errands in
turn. go fetch
—not a word from you now, go—
that salmon
shaped plate i left in the park
.
and though we
take it to mean a pretext,
gretel-style
(because hansel gets killed in
the woods), we
roam forests for kitchen plates.
trees titter
incandescent, warm-yellow;
we turn loose;
we confetti fallen leaves
and pretend
they’re bowls tossed at adult heads;
curious fawns
look like friends we’ve never had.
why go back?
why not woods-house where we thrive
unfettered,
far from virulent mood-clouds?
one of us
(we still debate this), juiced up,
calls to her,
she who hangs about these ways:
we feel bold,
and shouldn’t be. she’s just a
hag
, they say,
and ghosts, they don’t come when called.
but she does.
heard you looking for a plate?
as a kid,
i went chasing mine, and just
kept walking.

she is no hammer horror
character,
no sea-colored hotel ghost;
in fact she
more than looks like us. seconds
before we
take off sprinting, yowling, back
to mothers
we are gifted wisdom pearls
from her words
though we won’t know it just yet.
even if
you wander willingly in
to the woods,
always palm your breadcrumbs.

my friend now
lives on the neutral side of
misery.
i cherish my innermost
hauntings, and
walk into rooms without a
plan, and my
mother and i still haven’t
found that plate.


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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 56 | Fall/Winter 2020