by David Ackley

…ghosts still resentful, ghosts far from home…

                            After Hwang Sok-Yong, The Guest


Mine are more benevolent I like to think,

though it may be Yankee reticence

to ignore the horror

for the milder sense.


If they resent, they keep it close.

I tell Harry and Fred about the grandkids,

Fred's great-great, and Harry's great;

they try to smile their calcified lips.


And for Uncle Philip,

how his medals finally came, and adorn my wall.

To them it matters not much what I say

To the dead all talk is small.


Talking to bones and scraps, words in the dark

though, for all that, if I were them—and I am—

what I'd want to hear.