I begin with a drone.

*

I begin with the reflection of my face as I sing to the framed photo of a volcano erupting.

I begin with my mother—how, this summer, as we drove through the humidity and jasmine and river-smell (not quite fish, not quite algae, not quite salt) she told me I had a twin who died in the womb.

I decide she’s a sister.

Ghost sister. I begin with a drone and narrate from the voice of the ghost sister,
…………..ghost double.

*

Automatic. A hand to the back while the spine twists.

Automatic. Teeth on the lower lip while a rain drop falls.

Automatic. An unquestioned breath (inhalation).

*

In pursuit of becoming my ghost double, my chest heaves, enlarges in heat.

In pursuit of becoming my ghost double, I wear blue silk.

In pursuit of becoming my ghost double, I sit in the heat until I feel my scalp grow damp.

In pursuit of becoming my ghost double, I steal lilies.

*

I begin with a drone (self).

What embrace holds my reflection while I look into the eruption?

*

Because there are people who will never hear this drone (under vein, grass-dampening purr)
I steal lilies.

Because there are people who will never hear this drone, I wear blue silk.

Because there are people who will never hear this drone, or hold it, I thicken the blood.

*

Automatic.

Because there are people who lily, I silk.

Because there are people who blood, I thick.

Because there are people who hold, I look (under vein).

Because there are people who question, I un-.

*

In pursuit of becoming my ghost double, I sing lullabies in the bath
……………inside the volcano.

In pursuit of becoming my ghost double, I press my wet feet into the carpet
……………inside the volcano.

In pursuit of becoming my ghost double, I look to my Self and I listen. In the white film
lava. In the white film ash. In the black film rock. In every misconstruing, I negate.

*

In every misconstruing, I was a stream.

*

Because there was sister. A hand to the back.

Because I was twofold, briefly, conceived as a half—and cut.

Because I was half, I cause-and-effect.

*

Because there are people who sing, I press my wet feet into the carpet.

Because there are people who cut, I hold my half and lack.

Because there are people who cut, I hold my lack and laugh.

Because there are people who cut, my lack becomes drone.

*

Because there are people who press, I sing.

*

In front of the framed photo of a volcano erupting, I become my ghost double.

Jasmine pulp in my veins, thickening the blood.

*

A mother’s voice perceived from the garden.


AM Ringwalt is a writer and musician. The recipient of the 2019 Sparks Prize as a graduate of the University of Notre Dame’s MFA in Poetry, her words most recently appeared or are forthcoming in the Bennington Review, Interim and the Kenyon Review. Her manuscript What Floods was a finalist for Essay Press’ 2018 book prize and was longlisted for Tarpaulin Sky’s 2019 book prize. She has taught creative writing at the University of Notre Dame and Interlochen Arts Camp, and has performed her music at the Watermill Center and the New Yorker Festival.
annemalinringwalt.com

Image banner: Figs. 478 and 479 from Hand-book of Physiology by William Morrant Baker, 1892, 13th ed via Internet Archive

Advertisements