Those rose-red lips tremble on the edge of speech
until she pulls that shrouding hood forward
to stifle a tale:
before she tells her grief to some stranger
she will muffle it in black cashmere
hoard it like a dragon’s treasure,
take it back with her through the sullen woods
that hover like a threat:
speak at your peril
ask at the cost of your peace, forever
And yet I own I would ask, out of no idleness
why she turns from that stone,
her pale face shuttered and still with tears
too heavy to cry: does that stone mark a lost love?
a man? a child? What is the secret?
the sorrow of blood shed, of light gathered from her eyes
to illumine a greedy moon?
She walks under stars pinned to the sky
like ice crystals; vanishing into the night
as if she takes the light with her when she goes
into that silence she carries with her.
Poem copyright 2010 by Faire Lewis.
Not all ghosts have a story behind them, of why they walk. They seem to have appointed rounds on which they come and go, and though they have stories, the living who would remember have so long gone into the grave themselves that they took the stories of those shades gone before with them. Amanda’s photograph reminded me of those who have no tales–who walk in silence.