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Ghost Talk by Jared Povanda

I love the bench’s broken legs, the white bone of metal underneath the red paint. Here is an elegant decline into new spring weeds, into yawning ground wet from rain and pools of stagnant gravity. How long will it take for the bench to disappear completely? Slower than a sinking ship, lanterns going dark one stiff salute at a time. The earth will take its time—swallowing our human engineering until the bench is no longer a bench, no longer a place for bodies, but a single finger of iron curling to resemble an acorn cap on the grass.

In winter, I watch the bench hover at the edge of vision, an assassin in plainclothes. Dead trees leak dead wind. Woodland cats burrow to avoid a killing frost. It snows every day now. Fat flakes dash against the glass, and the sun exposes their delicate internal structures whenever the clouds deign to separate. I watch the ice burn gold, unable to help thinking about the fine lines of fossilized insects in amber and how perfect it is that burying can preserve while shame is somehow always oil atop water.

I didn’t want to ram the bench. I didn’t want my recklessness with the tractor to make anything else a metaphor for loss. Sometimes, though, ghosts talk to me. And the wounds of what we didn’t want only become visible with sudden exposure.


Jared Povanda is a writer, poet, and freelance editor from upstate New York. He has been nominated for Best of the Net and Best Microfiction, and his writing can be found in Cheap Pop, HAD, and Pidgeonholes, among others. Find him @JaredPovanda,, and in the Poets & Writers Directory.

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