South Fork Poetry: ‘The Phantoms’

By Stephanie Wade

We are silverfish under moonlight,
the glow of fireflies at dusk,
the warm embers of a woodstove.

We are calloused hands and hand-me-downs,
old dungarees and time-tested recipes.

We carry trays, dig holes, water plants,
massage bodies,
sing children to sleep.

We migrate from Montauk to Miami, Paris to Phuket. Aspen to Acadia.

We are in factories and in fields,
in bodegas and barns,
in kitchens and classrooms and carnivals.

We are new-born and older than death.
We embrace Thanatos and Eros.
Come closer.
We want to embrace you.

We are ready to take on the zombies
the TVs
all of the big and small
We are walking and biking
taking buses
saving seeds
sewing clothes
reading histories and
relearning the old ways.

We cannot be bought or sold or traded on the floor.
But, you might find a forgotten phantom or two in your family,
in your memory,
in your mirror.

We did not intend to scare you.
But, we want you to remember:

To taste the honeysuckles.
To take a dip in the sea.
To bake bread for your neighbors.


When we turn out the lights
the stars are there to guide us.

Stephanie Wade is assistant professor and director of writing at Unity College in Maine. She spends summers in East Hampton.