Size / / /

I come to you from a realm of incessant storms,

gowned in the shreds of an inadequate umbrella.

What happened to my hair? It kept getting snarled

into the filigree hilts of godmothers' wands, or stuck

in the icing on half-baked cottages, or wound

itself into nooses around already-netted fish. There

was nothing to do but to crop it all off. Loose, it promptly

smothered an acre of corn. When even the crows

can't wait to see you gone, it's time to shove

what's left of your life into a walking shroud

and cobble together what you can

from the pelts and bones of out-raced rabbits,

the better to greet whatever's next in store

with the treadlessness of a ghost, but even when

my fingertips graze only stone and tin,

my breath bruises fruit and my words ruin wells.

I've been told there are cures, but what I've heard

always ends with a witch in the fire

or the pond. I won't do that

to someone else's grandmother. And now

you have someone to blame for next week's blight

and next month's horror—I

am marching away even as you slam your door.




Peg Duthie shares a house in Nashville, Tennessee, with a brown dog and a piano tuned a half-step high. Her poems have appeared in Dead Mule, flashquake, and elsewhere, and she owes Heisenberg's ghost a round. You can find her poem Some Houseguests Can't Be Helped in our archives.
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7 Oct 2019

Aboard the ghost ship Nine Lives there are the living, the dead, and a great many cats.
By: Charles Payseur
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Charles Payseur's “The Sloppy Mathematics of Half-Ghosts.”
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31 Aug 2019
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