Ghosts by Emily Dolan

The Ultimate Optimist by Tony Murray

I.

They live in the whites of my eyes and the

thud of my feet against blacktop;

Some days they’re my hips my breath my

swallow; the traffic light stuck on yellow

revolving door and inhales before goodbye

a sturdy trunk kissing flimsy front bumpers;

Some days they’re stuck in the teeth

of the people who say they love me,

rose petal gums and sour tongues pushed

too far back in humid throats;

Sometimes words, other times an afternoon

or fishing rod or pink lanyard or pleated skirt;

II.

more guest house than muscle, skin

groundskeeper tending to a garden filled

with things I never planted, dirt-caked

fingernails never looked so much

like headstones; hallways clothed in

antique rugs, cobwebs blooming in the window panes

and wooden staircase corners

barren, childless chimney

            smoke here has no interest in traveling

            to the moon; the couches are too comfortable;

one drinks coffee with me every morning, another

rides shotgun while we drive down roads

I shouldn’t be on; another gives up on crosswords

after ten minutes, another cooks with too much garlic,

another tucks me in at night (the coffee-drinking one,

a courteous bookend); others chatter over midday tea,

rattling my porcelain skin (I’m not the good china, so

they don’t mind a crack or two); they know my

roadmap veins the swing of my wrist dragging pen

across paper and the sound of my dreaming —

one of them sings it in the shower (he’s always in the shower);

III.

I don’t consider myself haunted any more than

wax museums or hammocks on a still day or

empty shells at low tide or faded family photos;

Flowers need gardens and beehives need bees and

none of us want to feel lonely, anyway.


Emily Dolan (she/her) is a poet, novelist, and photographer from Wilmington, Delaware. She currently lives in Sevilla, Spain, where she has played professional soccer for the past two years. Her work has been featured in The Northern Virginia Review, Coffin Bell, and CircleShow, among other publications.

          Born in Queens N.Y., Tony Murray is a self taught artist who’s work has been in over 75 National and Regional juried art shows and exhibits. Tony is also the founder and creator of the “Artistic Merit Award” which has made its way around the world honoring over 56 artists. His eclectic works involve various media such as sculptography, scratchboard, painting, videography, sculpture and photography.  His first love in artistic expression will always be scratchboard. He feels the medium offers such vivid contrast and considers it more of a two dimensional sculpture.   His works are preceded with the  title and then he begins the process of creating that vision. 

       “It can be heard at many a funeral that the deceased had died an ‘untimely’ death. But who has died a ‘timely’ death?” (Murray)

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