Dan Pinkerton

One night in August 1992
a ghost emerged from a sewer grate
on Amherst Street and entered the room
where our child was sleeping. We had left
the window ajar to admit some fresh air

and watched now as the entity climbed
into our son’s bed. Moonlight dripped
from the ceiling and ran down the papered walls,
pooling on the floorboards. The light soured

our stomachs when we stepped in it and clung
like syrup to our bare feet. We have read
that ghosts act as prisms, refracting
light and sound, queering it. We have read
that ghosts make no noises of their own

but merely inhale all that they hear—
a flagpole lanyard, a late-night jet
cruising at altitude—and exhale
something carcinogenic: the sound

of a struck dog, a nail avulsed from wood.
This much we know: watching the bedclothes writhe
beside our child, we could produce no sound
of our own, yet a noise like broken
fingernails arose into the air.