Testimony Regarding a Ghost

by Carl Sandburg

THE ROSES slanted crimson sobs
On the night sky hair of the women,
And the long light-fingered men
Spoke to the dark-haired women,
“Nothing lovelier, nothing lovelier.”
How could he sit there among us all
Guzzling blood into his guts,
Goblets, mugs, buckets—
Leaning, toppling, laughing
With a slobber on his mouth,
A smear of red on his strong raw lips,
How could he sit there
And only two or three of us see him?
There was nothing to it.
He wasn’t there at all, of course.

The roses leaned from the pots.
The sprays snot roses gold and red
And the roses slanted crimson sobs
In the night sky hair
And the voices chattered on the way
To the frappe, speaking of pictures,
Speaking of a strip of black velvet
Crossing a girlish woman’s throat,
Speaking of the mystic music flash
Of pots and sprays of roses,
“Nothing lovelier, nothing lovelier.”

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