Watson 70

Hilary Watson

ON GHOSTS
After Jane Yeh

They go through newspapers like they’re fortunes from Kyoto,
Tying the accidents into flat-snake knots to weather them false –

The ghosts keep out of pace with every conversation that I leave
like a child dragged up a Scottish mountainside.

When I make speeches, they spit scrim balls into my ears and nostrils,
two points for an ear, ten if it stays up my nose without me sneezing.

They drink lavender tea, bring me biscuits I think they’ve made themselves.
Here, they snap them in half, it doesn’t count if we share. Their crumbs disappear.

They make awful layabouts, can’t stand the seagulls nesting in the chimneys.
The neighbour’s tarantula escapes at weekends – I see it in their laps

the bristles of the legs brushed through their fingers as though
the hairs are not poison, that they will not catch in my throat.


Hilary Watson graduated from the University of Warwick Writers’ Programme and was a Jerwood/Arvon mentee 2015/16. She works on gender equality in the third sector in Wales and currently splits her time between Bristol and Cardiff.