2006 – Laurel Bastian – Scruples

Poetry selection from the 2006 issue

by Laurel Bastian

The dead girl decides
she’s not coming home
to haunt anyone.

Some days she plays harp
on the dry vines
that snake the schoolyard fence
so beautifully
bullies nearby cling to their collars.

She watches the man in the ice-cream truck
open and close his small freezer.
She doesn’t move anything, doesn’t enter
dreams without being asked,
she’s never asked, she watches kids
take turns at the slide.

She watches the postman shave in his long underwear.
Slips into the vault of the Savings and Loan
and counts. She can pick out
the saddest man in a crowd.

There is everything and nothing to do
when you’re dead
and invisible.

Like wandering the neighborhood
walking through walls
without tipping collectible china.

No whistling in public,
no jump-rope turning around
empty space, no Ouija Board
Sometimes she goes
to the movies and sits
near the back,
watching cartoons.

Sometimes she goes to the station
and stands at the platform
watching women in white gloves
and soft handbags
get off and hail a taxi.

Sometimes she joins them,
sitting silently, enters the house
like a pink shadow
and waits.

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