Ghost

- Hannah Loeb

In December Andy came to Chile 
in a t-shirt that said life is hard 

and on a flight inconvenient 
above all for himself. Came to quit

cigarettes and drink
less & these aims he did achieve

of necessity because, broke, he 
relied on James for cues and me

for pesos, pisco sours. I eat meat
now and so does he, but his surrender

made me cross. I’d yielded to conger eel 
and, I reasoned, blood sausage, for love

so found myself
righteous, though abjectly,

but as the New Year’s prefix wore on
late late in Tres Rios & the oblivious waiter

brought cut after cut until even James
was groaning rudely in our booth for 2017

to come already, Andy stained every part 
of his skin and hair with flesh and fat,

made little noises, and wiped his hands
on the underside of the table. He stayed a month

and a half. I berated him soon enough, 
made him sit bitch the width of Argentina,

bought chips for the rest of the car, boxed 
chocolate milk, and when Iguazú rained on us

all jungly and wide, countries pressing in
on three sides, I glared at his wet tweed shorts

and at the broad dimples
of his terrible ass. Savvy coatimundi

evacuated the snack area while Andy 
got stung by something nasty, his ashen calf 

swelled and flushed
& touristik advice flowed in from

all sides, steeping the rain in
encounter. His glasses already were broken; we slept three

to one motel room many nights, for the AC 
or in adjacent tents, or up at the house

amid dust and cement, the neighbor doberman 
coming in and out as she pleased. It pleased me then 

to fight
before sleep, James collecting me 

hungrily into my pile & like a ghost bliss 
decamping. I cried

to distinguish my body from among
bug bites for him, to be gathered especially

& down the hall Andy’s phone 
swiped palely among Chilean women

with any English. In Iowa
he hadn’t been sleeping, I know,

& had freaked out Chris
and pissed off Betsy, bad signs,

so. Much later James remarked 
that only people we don’t know

ever want to hear about Chile. In January, 
the hottest month, Andy went home.

We took him to the airport in almost total 
silence, rare for me, and when I hugged him

he felt damp still, as though 
the thrill he never felt in Iguazú 

was with him a little anyway. 


Hannah Loeb is a poet and teacher in Idaho. Her dog is black, her pigs are grey, and her husband's beard is red.