by Carla Criscuolo
Carla Criscuolo

Carla Criscuolo was born and raised in New York City and now makes her home on Long Island. Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary magazines including Main Street Rag, South Jersey Underground, Foliate Oak, Message in a Bottle, and Boston Literary Magazine.

I am suddenly a poltergeist, slamming open dresser drawers,
pulling Bermuda shorts out of my suitcase faster than a magician
pulls rainbow scarves from his throat. A triangle symphony
clashes as I toss flimsy sun dresses back into the closet.
When I reach the airplane tickets I let them slip from
my fingers onto the bed, a soundless gesture. Delicately,
I unzip my dress (after all it did cost more than our living
room set), and let it pool at my feet like a daub of marshmallow
fluff. I picture myself naked atop a wedding cake, and giggle
the whispery giggle that always makes him smirk, as if I never
once laughed this laugh before he entered my life. I slide
into a pair of ripped jeans and the faded Nirvana concert t-shirt
I bought when I saw them play St. Louis in 1992, buttery soft
after hundreds of washings. I charge out the back door into the dirt-
covered alley separating my parents' house from the neighbor's,
my sneakers kicking up dust clouds like a muscle car spinning its
wheels. High July and there are no little girls peddling streamer-laden
bicycles down the sidewalk, no barbeque smell wafting over
the Olson's privacy fence. They are all with you, waiting for
me to materialize at the top of the aisle, a gossamery imitation
of myself, and march like an automaton toward a future I can't stand
to imagine; years spent hovering at your side, a gin and tonic
in one manicured hand, the other resting on your elbow as I
listen to you speak the secret language of golf courses and
tennis matches, a too-wide smile no one even bothers to notice
stretching from cheek to aching cheek, letting only the occasional
"Mmm hmm" or "Oh, really?" slip through my teeth. No, Darling,
I am not that kind of ghost. Today my silence will echo through
the church, clang with the jagged shriek of an overturned china
cabinet, the red fury of welts raised on skin by the hand of
a restless spirit.

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