On How Ghosts Take the Moral Highground – by Anna Saunders


A week after he’s hanged himself he’s back,
returned to the house of his fickle lover

shroud-bound, glassy faced, righteous, hovering above her bed
like a see-through falcon, ready to drop on prey.

The noose that did for him is lank as a shed snake’s skin
and his tracing-paper fingers claw the air,

and he moans each time she kisses her new paramour
until they split apart, startled.

In life he was licentious,
but after death he’s immaculate as a saint

scrubbed clean as if the Spiritual Realm
were a rough sponge brandished by a fierce hand.

All his sins are exfoliated now, his new skin
light as bible paper, lucent as rain.

Pity the poor woman who lies under him
too guilt-struck to enjoy another’s embrace.

Imagine if each time you kissed a new lover
you were haunted by the one you betrayed.

Imagine if your sin was sent back – fingered,
pale hands holding a candle,

the flame a halo around the shaft
so your darkness was broken by their pure white light.





Anna Saunders is the author of Communion (Wild Conversations Press), Struck (Pindrop Press), Kissing the She Bear (Wild Conversations Press), Burne Jones and the Fox (Indigo Dreams) and Ghosting for Beginners (Indigo Dreams, Spring 2018). Poems published in journals which include Ambit, The North, New Walk Magazine, Amaryllis, Iota, Caduceus, and Envoi. The CEO and founder of Cheltenham Poetry Festival.