Featured photo by Ana Mucak.
It's facile to claim "it's complex"
when you're dead. Finality
is built in, the one way arrow
of time snapping its bowstring
for you, at least. Lost love,
forgotten fortune, reasons
to hang around, sure, it's
normal as decay. But
don't go pretending it's complex.
We live. We die. Some people
don't scatter into component
probabilities, or wait a while,
or get so mixed up with a place
they become a part of it. That
happened to me, because I thought
there were secrets to be discovered.
By the time I realized there weren't,
and even if there were, I can't
show my work, I was part of a library.
It's good, though. Folks like you
pass through here, confused,
and get information. Exactly how
a library should be, with a helpful
guide and a benign ghost for students
to spot in the stacks, and wonder
about, scare each other with.
I hear I'm getting referrals.
It's flattering. So yeah. There is
no secret. You can do as you like,
haunt your loved ones if you must,
though I warn you it isn't
actually a kindness if you do,
unless you really socked away
money in the wall, and even then
you'll mostly scare dogs and babies.
You have no guarantee of success.
You can't pick what you become part of.
People worry about their ghosts,
worry even harder when they're real.
They think they're going nuts,
their meds stopped working, or worse
they think you're stuck, trapped,
and watching them. No one likes that.
Watching over from heaven is different
than being around who knows where.
And the child ghosts are everywhere,
they'll break your heart in time.
It's not complex. You can risk your
old priorities, or see whatever people
go to when they don't stay around.
Do some people get both? Sure.
Is it going to be you? Odds against.
I'll see you, if I see you. On Wednesdays
they bring the therapy dogs at two,
be kind and don't scare them. Don't
make it complex, buddy. Just choose.
Elizabeth R. McClellan is a domestic and sexual violence attorney by day and a poet in the margins. Their work has appeared in Girls Who Love Monsters, Utopia Science Fiction, Strange Horizons, Dreams and Nightmares, Illumen Magazine, Rejection Letters and many others. They are a disabled gender/queer demisexual poet writing on unceded Quapaw and Chikashsha Yaki land. Follow them on Twitter @popelizbet or on Patreon at ermcclellan.
Ana Mucak is a student and photographer based in Zagreb, Croatia. She is currently studying for a master's degree in English Linguistics and Educational Sciences. As a deeply sentimental person, she loves documenting the world around her and has been shooting film for four years now.