Janice Lee: Three Poems

귀신 or GHOST

from Separation Anxiety

we exist in relation to—
or, we shuddered
as forever stared back
our demons think something has gone
귀신, gone
layered on thin
once we lost it all forever
even as we trained ourselves
to need the animal
no need
to gaze softly
even if you are going to be cutting it
all down


a cavitation speaks
with the susurrations of what we call

in a prophecy:

thousands of sheep and goats and camels and oxen and sons and daughters
thousands upon thousands
bleeding in the dead of night

in a prophecy:

my head is split open with an axe
and the deterioration of mind
that was inevitable from the get-go
finally finishes its course

in a prophecy:

the ghost of my dead mother
eavesdropping as I sob willfully / woefully
because I am so afraid to be alone
that I bully everyone close to me
into caring more about themselves
than about the world

whose cruel test of faith
is all of this?


find yourself laying down
the beautiful melancholy of language is tempting
but you know already to turn away
once in awhile
and take a step in the opposite direction
you know already to laugh
after the tears
but how? 

with the redaction of knowing
with all you will ever be
a steady stone
that enacts the performance of
and when Benny shifts on the floor
breathes deeply
that too
is the gesture of an entire life
its ghosts
still reaching
still: the darkness of light 

when will we learn/unlearn it all?

What are you looking for?