Poppy Red and Sonata with Joanna Nissel
His body is gone.
I force myself to walk through the space where we found it,
as if to prove ghosts don’t exist.
Yet I recall:
the small puddle of vomit,
his eyes, one hazel, one brown,
flattened like week-old jelly.
Nightmares follow me to the new house.
Wake shivering to claustrophobic silence,
gather his trinkets –leather keychain,
gold tobacco tin, inscribed lighter–
hold them to me like talismans.
Pace to the piano, once his father’s, now mine,
trace the keys, concaved by our finger pad trills.
I sit, lift lid, play his favourite sonata, pianissimo,
a whisper of how he played. It is enough.
From my mother’s bedroom, sheets rustle:
she reaches to the other side of the mattress,
hand drops heavy to the bedspread, sickening,
like taking one too many steps on the stairs.
Joanna Niseel is an MA student at Bath Spae University working on her debut novel. Her work is featured in Irisi, Amaryllis, Clear Poetry, DNA, Glove, Eye Flash, Riggwelter, and The Fenland Reed magazines. She is also the social media editor for Tears in The Fence and research assistant at Paper Nations.