Poetry: How to Deal with a Departing Spirit by Chris Bullard

1) Because they love ghosts a child may insist on becoming one.

2) This should be discouraged.

3) Explain to your child what being material has to offer them: ice cream, for example, which you never got at their age.

4) Take your child to see a haunted house.

5) Explain that ghosts must often live in the most rundown parts of town unlike your child who can enjoy the advantages of the suburbs.

6) Lord knows you pay enough to keep him there.

7) Share your own experiences.

8) Tell your child how you, too, wanted to become weightless, but chose, instead, to marry and have children.

9) Tell your child that having children did not wreck your life although you drink heavily.

10) Try to make your child understand that being scary does not keep you from being unhappy, just as being a parent does not keep you from being lonely.

11) If this fails, look for any insecurity you can use to tether your child.

12) Don’t let him turn invisible and silent.

13) Or drift away like a little Hindenberg off to some hydrogen-fueled tragedy.

14) Don’t let his absence become a shriek of reproach under a white sheet you are afraid to pull back.

Chris Bullard is a native of Jacksonville, FL, who lives in Philadelphia. He received his B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania and his M.F.A. from Wilkes University. Grey Book Press published Continued, a chapbook of his poetry, in 2020. Blue Moon Press has accepted a collection of his plays for publication this year. His work has appeared in recent issues of Nimrod, Muse/A Journal, The Woven Tale, Red Coyote, Cutthroat, and The Offbeat

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