These cats won’t eat
what I give them.
They come to bed,
sit on the dresser
and night stand, staring me awake.
Sitting right behind them?
Ghost cats who will eat
and are also demanding food.
What does one feed
a ghost cat? They’re so thin,
so ornery. Maybe ghost fish,
fresh from the docks?
I get up, walk to a harbor
not far from here
full of boats
but devoid of docks;
fog on the water, the boats
and their catch
rotting in the fog,
the exorcised demon fishermen
of twenty centuries
wailing to come
back to shore.
I flee. Is there a market
somewhere near here
that might have canned food
for ghost cats? I left the house
with no money, though.
I don’t have money in general,
but no matter: all the markets
are closed for a holiday. No chance
of filling my needs that way
so I head for home through
streets full of paraders, naked,
brandishing willow wands,
striking each other across
the thighs, everyone squealing.
I pass apparently unseen by anyone;
re-enter my house, throngs of ghosts
around my feet, their eyes glinting
like swords. If I go back to bed,
no matter; all that hunger will slosh
around the room and there will be
no sleep. Let me sit here for a while
with you instead. We can imagine
a better world where neither live nor dead
shall feel want. Where the boats
come back to port, where the willows
grow green in spring, where the naked
can wear what they want if they want,
where I don’t need ghost money to feed
my ghosts, where what I don’t have
doesn’t rouse me
from sleep to try and do
to achieve peace of mind.