Peace Landing Under Halved Sky
She was part of a haunting. The ache of recognition was so sweet.
So much sweeter to recognize old life as if through a film
than to have lived old life. The safety of obstruction
made things clearer. She was part of a haunting but she was living.
She was pre-death. The mosquito-netted courage took off
like blood from a heart. She wasn’t a ghost. She had a shape and yes
ghosts have shapes but her shape had weight. Same organs in formation.
Same scars cratering her arms. She sought the refrigerator, the park, the office.
Her money changed hands. It was hers even when it had gone
for groceries, postage stamps, a balloon animal at the parade downtown.
For rent, because she required shelter in a new part of the city. She lived on a hill
now, glanced down at the past from the height of a gentle summit.
She was part of a peace landing. Part of a haunting. She breathed
on her old life, told stories from her old life, passed people from her old life
on the street and said hello. Felt a landlocked sea change. Felt
the ravages of longing. Every hardwood footfall was spine resonation.
She stepped over or around, depending. Pondered oranges, pizza,
the moon. Living circles: her wordless mantras. She made her daughter
into a new life daughter. Some friends crossed the film: new life friends.
She found a lover, a woman whose questions worked
backward, a woman without ultimatums. They stayed up all night
drinking bitter coffee in the dark, keeping their laughter
hushed so the daughter could sleep. In the morning the shadows brightened
into objects she’d bought, could recognize, could reach and touch and hold.
Kathleen Jones is a writer of poetry, fiction, and technical documentation. She lives in Wilmington, North Carolina and has an MFA in poetry from UNC Wilmington. Her work is forthcoming from the The Best Small Fictions 2018 anthology and North Carolina Literary Review, and can be found in Rust + Moth, Paper Darts, Grist Online, and more.