Home For A Summer Ghost

Sharodi Hazarika

Evenings like these leave me shivering.

The smell of burnt wood and almost summer sits on my nose like
the blanket I tighten around my body every time they mistake me for a ghost.
It empties my lungs of oxygen and begs me for a home inside;
and I take off my cotton gloves, dig my fingers inside my ribs,
pull out a charred flower and say, “here you can have my barren heart”
Maybe this is the way I will live again.

I was a human years ago.
I planted flowers on my body and danced with fireflies every
rainless spring night;
and breathing in the scent of changing seasons was like
keeping my garden pretty.
It was easy.
And when summer arrived I grew tuberose on my bones
in hopes of building friendships with fragrance alone.
I did not ask for the world at my feet or for the angels to never sing again;
I wanted to remain a human and they stood in front of me,
looked right through my bones and turned me into a ghost.

This April night, for the first time
the early summer air refused to let me breathe.
I bought a dozen scented candles and lit them all at once
I planted a hundred gardenias and grew them overnight;

now I sit on the porch of a burnt down house
with a garden that takes away everyone’s breath.
(except my own)

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