Ghosts have a way of knowing where all the keys are hidden. –   William Evans


As though we, the living, are locks.

Or doors with locks.


Or small latched boxes,

lacquered or decoupaged with pansies,


or scorched like the unpainted dime store kind

you tried to inscribe with your name


with a neighbor kid’s wood burning kit,

all of them with a tiny hasp


and padlock worked by a thin gold key

that even a ghost could lose.


As though there are ghosts, real ones,

not simply regret.


As though regret were simple.

As though it were made complicated only


by our intricate tricks for containing

the ghosts of what we can’t let go,


but grieve and grieve and grieve over,

as though we were not the lock,


the latch, the lid, the door, not the rue,

not the sorrow, not the ghost with the key.

Hayden Saunier’s books of poetry include How to Wear This Body, Say Luck, Tips for Domestic Travel, and Field Trip to the Underworld.  Her new book of poetry, A Cartography of Home is due out in early 2021.  (