Little Ghosts

by AUDREY WALLS

Cape Fear River, North Carolina

You held hurricanes in your lungs, the blackwater cough still breathing. We escaped the waves that tunneled down Front Street. They were nothing compared to the bagyos that lacerated the archipelago you called home as a child. With our backs to the city we traced ourselves in chalk. Here is where we will die. Here we will be little ghosts. I brushed back your hair & circled your head with white gritty lines. Elbows jutting like spoons in moonlight. That night you taught me your tongue. I carry twin words as fishhooks in my lips: karagatan for the ocean & katawan for the rake of your fingers against my back: the body.

AUDREY WALLS’ poetry appears or is forthcoming in Controlled Burn, The Louisiana Review, Mason’s Road, The Monongahela Review, and Naugatuck River Review. She was awarded the 2011 Arts Club of Washington Scholarship for Student Poets and the Poetry Society of Virginia’s 2011 Frank Craddock Memorial Prize. She lives in Richmond, VA, and is an MFA candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University.