How Do I Fit This Ghost In My Mouth

by Anca Szilagyi

after Geoffrey Farmer at the Vancouver Art Gallery

I wanted to tell her how         she’d said, one blue canine
stupid she looked, but       buzzing bright in her
there wasn’t enough time.     mouth. So bright when
The light bulbs of her teeth     she’s happy, it nearly
switched on, switched off.     bursts. He sighs into the
They didn’t even match.        floral wallpaper.
Blue, yellow.
How do I put her in my mouth
There wasn’t time. Got hit      and take her back to him?
by a truck. Her groceries      I’d suck her into my lungs,
rolled under—a head of       exhale her into his. Mouth
lettuce, a flattened banana.     to mouth reincarnation.
Glass pulverized to sand.
Little old lady of the
The Tuareg wear blue        sequined ballet flats. With
robes that dye their skin;     the blue and yellow light
they navigate the desert by    bulb teeth. Who shook her
the stars. How will she        head at Friday night
come back again? Is he         museum cleavage. Who
lonesome tonight?         could not get the pears.
Whose husband sits
She never got the pears       sighing in the wallpapered
and never could tell him     kitchen, hands warming
why. He’s sitting in their      between his knees, her
floral-papered kitchen,        cathedral tinkling as the
wrinkled hands warming     clock clicks.
between his knees, sighing
as the clock clicks with      Shall I come back again?
dull insistence.            Why did I ever want to tell
her how stupid she looked?
Poor lady’s under a truck,      A screw loose in her tooth
can’t navigate by the stars.     socket. A burned out bulb.
She had wind chimes by     Had I distracted her? How
her kitchen window,        do I fit this ghost in my
dangling from the fire       mouth? This my last
escape. My cathedral,        thought at a time like that.

Anca Szilagyi has had writing appear in Electric Literature, Gastronomica, Fairy Tale Review, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of fellowships and awards from Artist Trust, Made at Hugo House, Jack Straw Cultural Center, and 4Culture. The Stranger hailed Anca as one of the “fresh new faces in Seattle fiction.” This is her first published poem.