Poetry: Selections from Steve Passey

A Ghost Story Told in a Caleño Spanish Accent
es el mismo error
Vale la pena la espera
I did not deadlift that well today. I did not write.
I watched documentaries and sent voice messages
in my not-very-good Caleño Spanish to la Colombiana.
She told me I get better every day.
My former brother-in-law owned some rental properties.
He’d rented a townhouse to three girls from the Blood Tribe Reservation.
After a month they came to him.
They asked for his permission to bring a Medicine Man to the house, to put spirits at rest.
Drawers would be opened,
utensils scattered,
often there was smell of the smoke of a fire,
and twice a white girl in the room, sad-eyed and black-haired and furtive,
lost quickly from the corner of the eye.
Sure, he said, without judgement.
Bring this elder in.
Put the spirit to rest.
(More Catholic than the pope, he’d eventually have the priest come and bless the place too.)
On the day the Medicine Man came
my brother-in-law waited outside with his tenants,
while the sage was burned and the songs were sung.
A neighbor from across the street came to ask what was going on.
My brother-n-law told him,
without judgement,
about the drawers and the smell of fire and the girl, gaunt and dark-eyed,
almost unseen but not quite.
The neighbor nodded and went home,
returning in a few minutes with a picture of one of his children,
and a girl, tall for her age, skinny and black-haired,
parted in the middle, very straight and long.
Her smile was thin and her skin pale.
He asked the Káínai girls if the girl in the picture was the one that they had seen.
They did not demure.
Yes, each said, in turn.  
Yes, that is the girl that I have seen.
The neighbor told them then,
how that girl, the girl in the picture,
had not lived in their place but in the place next door,
a few years back,
and how,
after she’d set a fire in the basement,
she’d hanged herself with an electrical cord.
He parents had moved away after this
and he did not know where they had gone to,
but he understood.
He thought they all could understand.
With some of these things, God holds judgement in abeyance.
Dime, La Colombiana,
de la casa de tu madre,
del lugar donde te criaste,
del jardín de tu padre,
y hubo suficiente lluvia para todo
es el mismo error
Vale la pena la espera

Dulce Cosa

I came a little late,
a little drunk,
and in love.
All things are as they should be,
and if the sun could speak it would only speak your name
Flor de Mayo,
y si,
llego un poco tarde y si,
estoy un poco bebido y si,
me encanta.

The Traveler

The traveler walks and can’t see the road moving to meet them as of course, it must.
All are bound by the inscrutable,
and all paths end in darkness,
each and every one,
and every traveler walks alone.
Save me, each one will cry.
Save me, from my oppressors.
Save me, from my travails.
Save me, each one prays,
save me from being alone.
Each and every weary traveler passes in their turn,
and the road is both the time and stage,
the hours it holds, the dream the cage.

Steve Passey is originally from Southern Alberta. He is the author of the short-story collections Forty-Five Minutes of Unstoppable Rock (Tortoise Books, 2017), the novella Starseed (Seventh Terrace), and many other individual things. He is a Pushcart and Best of the Net Nominee and is part of the Editorial Collective at The Black Dog Review.


Popular Posts