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I need a ghost
To manage my wardrobe
The clothes of the departed on one side
And henna on the other

I need a ghost
To arrange the books that betrayed me
This pile deserves punishment
For ruining my peace
I will not forbid filling its ears with straw and petrol.

The ghost will understand my joy
Over burning their covers
With Nazi sangfroid
And laying the paper under fried chicken
To keep clean plates
After impotent people smeared them with their substandard figures of speech

I need a ghost
To remove the keys of my keyboard
And move the mouse over the cracked skin
To lick its pimples and pustules
And the marks the lover made
On the thigh of his beloved.

Ghosts are honest
And silent
They direct their guns at dwarfs
Who smear walls with blood
Bumping their head against them on Saturdays
As they are without shadow
The wandering bird
Perches on a poet’s head only
And dwarfs
Ward off.

Ghosts are gauzy
They do not occupy space
And spare air and time
They are learned,
Hide the sun from shorties
As their undersized feet
Spoil the picture of shadow and light
They have wisdom,
They listen in to a girl and a boy
Near the old waterwheel:
– if you weren’t mad at me, I wouldn’t care –
He said: I am mad
And went off to the hut. She cried
The younger ghost
Consoled her with a rose
And caressed her plait
The older one
Lifted his finger and warned:
Don’t wreck the hut
There’s a poet inside.

Poet's Note: The ‘wandering bird’ refers to the pre-Islamic poet Imru’l-Qays, son of the king of Kinda, and therefore called ‘the wandering king’.