teenage ghosts

a part of me leaves every year on Halloween.
behind the bleachers & the 7-11
the beachfront house party
crushed cigarettes & wrappers were
rose petals to the bedroom, where
I became part of him first.

when I was sixteen, I was invincible
as bullet-proof glass; the words hit me,
but I never shattered. The taunts
scraped down my skin, but I never
scarred. So I went to the
Halloween party in ’99
thinking that the world would end soon enough.
In the amber colour of beer bottles &
the silver glint of Budweiser cans,
I saw a crescent shape staring back at me
surface as soft as sand.
the moon, Samhain, & I started again.

When I was 23, I thought myself invisible
studying alone for so many years
leaving charm bags and spells on receipts
in the corner of a studio apartment in Salem,
staring out at a quarry. Each rock face
sliced through was my fortune
my future, where I always ended up alone.
Samhain 2006, a riot of colors, sounds,
and shapeshifters in the park. The same
cans & the glint of the silver-faced moon.
The world was not over,
but I lived in the dark ages
pretending I was going to be burned.

Now, I believe myself
to be flesh and bone, enchanted by
my hope. On Halloween, the ghosts
of my former selves drift through
my house, tickle my spine,
and make me taste things
I don’t remember eating.

The dead & dried flowers
the smells the soot on the floor
the children ringing the door & asking for
a treat or a trick. I abide, abide, abide
until my selves, the ones
I’ve kept guarded like a magic show trade secret
break apart at the seams. For one night,
I let my body become haunted,
I let my past lives lived & unremembered
come to the surface until I bruise as black
as the water by ocean where a boy
first called my name in his heat.

Come morning, everything will be
gone and different. The moon will
have found me during the daytime
a sliver of a former self,
no more than a phase
on the blue horizon
& it will lead me through
the years to come, and the selves
to learn, and the ghosts to keep.

[Evelyn Deshane has appeared in Plenitude Magazine, The Rusty Toque, and is forthcoming in Tesseracts 19: Superhero Universe. Their chapbook, Mythology, was released in 2015 with The Steel Chisel. Evelyn (pron. Eve-a-lyn) received an MA from Trent University and currently studying for PhD at Waterloo University. Visit evedeshane.wordpress.com for more details.]