On Helene Schjerfbeck’s Self-Portrait
We’re ghosts. All of us. We’re humans
for a little while, but ghosts for such infinity
that the flesh is a speck, a flame-flicker,
the fire of our cheeks like wishes, the artist
realizing this, drawing the ghost inside us
that’s aching to burst out so quietly, a haunting
that’s almost boring, our insides gnawing
to come outside, fall out of us. We’re brittle.
Our weeks are seconds. The dark is waiting.
Ron Riekki’s books include My Ancestors are Reindeer Herders and I Am Melting in Extinction (Loyola University Maryland’s Apprentice House Press), Posttraumatic (Hoot ‘n’ Waddle), and U.P. (Ghost Road Press). He has received a Pushcart Prize, a Shenandoah Fiction Award, a Best Small Fictions selection, and been in several other anthologies. Right now, he's listening to Elbow's "One Day Like This."
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