Ghost of a ghost

The trail you leave is slug mucus shiny, nothing complex
like a web. No architecture assembles your appearance.

You are simple, a low-hanging cloud that burns away in the sun
and if the sun doesn’t come you’re with me half the day,

a whole morning gone. At lunch I quarter sliced cucumbers
and eat so slow anyone can track my progress. Dogs wait

until I finish to gulp what’s left. Don’t say I never left you anything.
Served my life to you though I wanted to wander a field

in no particular direction. When I follow your path we go
the wrong way. Behind me, that’s where you pull.

When I learned to walk my parents said forward. You are
no sergeant. No decoration, no uniform. A shadow in the field

and among the trees that edge a property. A presence, if anything,
and sometimes everywhere. Sometimes the whole damn day.

Julie Brooks Barbour is the author of two full-length collections, Haunted City (2017) and Small Chimes(2014), both from Kelsay Books. Her most recent chapbooks include Beautifully Whole (Hermeneutic Chaos Press, 2015) and Earth Lust (Finishing Line Press, 2014). She is co-editor of Border Crossing and Poetry Editor at Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, and teaches writing at Lake Superior State University. Find her online

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