by J. A. Tyler
an excerpt from IN LOVE WITH A GHOST
He is in love with a ghost.
She is five foot nine and has brown hair. She speaks a language he doesn’t understand. She touches him. She puts her palms on his. She rubs his shoulders. She bends her calves to his eyes. She looks into him.
His eyes burn in the morning. He hasn’t been sleeping. He can’t.
Down the line the sun rises. And later the sun sets. And in between she invades his synapses.
She falls like rain. She coats like thickness. She smiles like autumn.
He is in love with a ghost with no name. He calls her love. He calls her girl. He calls her everythingness.
She doesn’t respond to labels.
She does what she wants.
She is a ghost like a robot.
Her touches are electric and mechanical. Her movements are precise and definitive. Her lips speak blips and blinks. Her hands build from blueprints that are invisible. Her feet move legs that move her body in its beautiful shape.
He runs out of things to say. He never had anything to say. He never had anything to do with her.
And then she consumes him.
And he falls.
Like rain. Like thickness. Like autumn.
Because she is the moon she lights the way. Because she is the ocean she comes and goes. Because she is the wind she drifts and beckons.
She chases him through dreams.
He runs in alleyways. He hides behind bushes. He lays flat in the darkness of grass.
She finds him.
She bleeds in cinderblock. She outlines in sticks against light. She hovers over him in the dew.
And he chases back.
He pulls the tails of her shirt. He tugs at her femurs. He braces against her.
And she wraps a wave around him. Coiling like a finger. Boiling like water. Burning like sun.
She blinds and covers him. She stings and pains. She retreats.
He is in love with a ghost that recedes.
When the rain stops she is left. Standing in the gray. Toes in puddles. Lips kissing wet asphalt.
When the ocean rolls she is riding it. She is high on the crests. She is smoothing underneath. Rocks gently carved by constant motions.
She is an ocean.