An international online magazine that publishes Surrealist poetry in English.
Ta Phantasmata (The Ghosts)
I was wearing this landscape
buttoned up tightly around me,
but I got warm and took it off.
Now I don't know where I am.
Quick, bring me a city,
any city. The cold slab of the shoreline
is too hard to sit on
without some cushion.
A city on the coast, then, at an hour
late enough that the world inland
no longer exists. Piraeus shrugs
its long black shoulder at the long black sea.
And a room, dark except for the orange light on the space heater.
This room is haunted by the heat;
my mouth is haunted by dead languages;
my body is haunted by myself;
and all around this gray apartment building
the smooth air circles round,
stroking its forehead, reassuring it
that it is loved, all night long.
The sky has hardened
and the ground has softened.
The rain dissolves the cars
and leaves only headlights,
constellations of pure white globes
whose lights all merge together
in the crowded roads: gentle, cool,
dissolving at their edges, all these perfect spheres.
Caitie Barrett lives in Ithaca, NY, where she teaches at Cornell University as an Associate Professor of Classics. She is also a professional archaeologist. Her poetry appears in Can We Have Our Ball Back, IthacaLit, Philadelphia Stories, Tales from the Forest, as well as in Bow & Arrow Press and Pressed Wafer Press editions. She is also the author of two nonfiction books on archaeology: Egyptianizing Figurines from Delos: A Study in Hellenistic Religion (Brill, 2011) and Domesticating Empire: Egyptian Landscapes in Pompeian Gardens (Oxford University Press, 2019). In 2020, she received the Orison Anthology Award in Poetry.