Future Ghosts

Image by djedj from Pixabay
Thanksgiving summit, but I see not
my grandparents in sepia memories,
nor my family, lively and animated
with wine and spirited discussion,

but the hazy etherness of future ghosts - 
like climbing a mountain, knowing
that someday it will peak and plunge.
I grieve for loss not yet realized.

I recall my biologist friend who’d watch
the unknowing rats dance etherized
across the lab bench before killing them,
and I wonder who among us is seeing clearly.


Written for dVerse and retroactively for W3


    • Thank you for the feedback! So glad that the last line is connecting the poem together. I should start a poll – yay or nay vote on the rats. “Cute” is kind of the wrong word, I think, as the rats get euthanized so shortly after their appearance here. It’s more that the rats are potentially “thought-provoking” or “intriguing” or even “sobering”. This is one of my rougher drafts, so I especially appreciate the feedback!

      Liked by 1 person

    • “Double-walking through the family dinner” – yes, this is what I was hoping to capture. Glad this is coming through.
      Re: “cute” I could have phrased this better. It’s more thinking that the rats were potentially thought-provoking or intriguing. Another, more interesting image besides the peaking mountain and inevitable long descent, assuming it works.
      I really appreciate your feedback. This is one of the rougher drafts I’ve posted on my blog, so the feedback is especially helpful.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I liked the–very compelling–idea of this. The rats fit in with it nicely, but maybe the allegory came along too abruptly? But only a little. Anyway, save this and read it when you’re 70. It will make perfect sense!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So sobering and I agree with Bjorn, it feels jarring with the rats, but I like how it’s thrown out there in a way that’s dissociative yet continuous. It’s such a good glimpse of the human race and seeing ourselves through a lens of distance; how it flows together, it is wonderful. I feel an emotional distance yet an overload at recognizing that we all return to the same fate. Everyone is a future ghost (I LOVE that phrase you used), and it can be a world of grief to realize that, while also trying to cherish the moments we all have left day to day. Beautifully written. I’m going to come back to this for a re-read and perhaps plenty more of them, it’s just that good.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow, thank you for this feedback. There is this odd tension between trying to live in the moment and appreciate life while also recognizing we’re all future ghosts because we’re all going to die. And thank you so much for your feedback – reading that this poem is re-read worthy means so much. 🥰

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I reckon there are more future ghosts than ever and we can see them more clearly each day. They are much scarier than our ancestral ghosts who have gone to rest in peace. You have captured their spirit here for us to know.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A thought provoking poem! As a researcher (retired but still working) I understand the rat experience. The thing is that once unconscious there is no perception of pain. Which begs the question, how many people are going through life unconscious by choice or through ignorance?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Years ago, I had a conversation with a coworker who had been a biologist and told me about euthanizing the rats in that context. I found it such an intriguing, interesting detail and I’ve been trying to work it into a poem ever since (this post being more successful than previous off-blog attempts).

      “How many people are going through life unconscious by choice or through ignorance?” – This is indeed, a very good, thought-provoking question. What do you think?


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