On Constructing the Ghost Two Prose Poems by Jessica Cogar

On Constructing the Ghost

I am teaching the significance of a broken chandelier as it falls toward me. A token of glass catches itself on my sweater—my tour guide of what’s breakable, what can be viewed but never touched. The projection of this image stretches across the underside of my wrist and what is borrowed is now apparent.

How does one package instructions for constructing the ghost? I say, “Take away form, give it agency.” The ghost’s thoughts will come on their own, unless they don’t. Next time, I will say, “unleash your ghost where it might interact with the living, make the living say, ‘silence is not merely the absence of noise, nor the absence of noise combined with stasis. It is always something else.’”

Borrowings become projections—a museum, evoking the dream of possession before evacuating it. I turn on the light before the chandelier can hit the floor. “This is how you take away form,” I will say. Ask a question, and you will first receive silence. Then thought. A ghost made this way will pass through a fire unharmed, but believe that its body is burning.


Her morning is as honest as the party is long—a sunrise wields the weight of water. She comes by in the name of afternoons, wet-sand-on-your-skin—astonishment, asymptomatic. She knows I have one heart and many hands. Split apples offer whispers, the body of a bee held steady, labeled. At the end of my suffering there is contact, there are knuckles to darkness to smoke clinging, like it does, to her fingers, to her hair.

An invite: to the nape of her neck, where lightning meets tree or sand (where it makes glass). I changed the eye and revealed the mouth, choosing a silk scarf and knowledge of emergency. The sewing pin between her fingers belongs in my abdomen; she’s a lousy shot. Finger dipped in the pool—quiet, inconsistent, rough hands, whitest panic—listen to me. It will happen this way: I will unfold the notes of her skin, disturb the symmetry of her eyes.

Jessica Cogar is a master’s student in Ohio University’s creative writing program, where she teachers rhetoric and writing, and reads for New Ohio Review. Poems have appeared in Switchback, scapegoat review, The Boiler, small po[r]tions, and elsewhere.