Jennifer A. McGowan


Ghosts are never really dead.
Anything that burns will rise again,

How do you layer yourself
when the dancing’s done,

when the valentines, the age-old syllabi,
the notes, the invitations,

the contexts, the online chats, the talks are gone?

Despite yourself, you start to think;
memories drag names out of the ash.

Dust swirls. You dervish until,
finally, you look like the witch you are,
covered in nothing, half-bent, choking.

Then the air comes all at once, a gift.
You remember how to fly

Jennifer A. McGowan, one of Oxford’s Back Room Poets, graduated from Princeton with honours, and from the University of Wales for her M.A. and Ph.D. She has published poetry and prose in various magazines and anthologies, and has both written and recorded songs on several (small, but perfectly formed) labels. She loves teaching and has taught both under- and postgraduates at several universities. She is a British citizen.