Ghost Gifts

by Hollie Dugas

In other words, objects I’ve given away 
coming back to haunt me, their tiny transient 
spirits tied to me by thread, coming back 
to play now that our lives are separate 
from one another—some kind of 
knickknack karma. In other words, 
it’s uncanny; another woman handling 
my trinkets, like the duo of elephant 
figurines, hand-painted with red dress 
and bow, bought in courtship, a language 
of love. How can I ensure she will 
know them like I do? I am deep with 
ancient fear and when my father died 
it was difficult to tell—sounds emerging 
from his body up until the coroner came 
to collect. In other words, I have trouble 
letting go, handing him over to a place 
where he’ll have a private role without me, 
a place I would forever be bound to 
by a violet stream, the vein connecting us.

Hollie Dugas lives in New Mexico. Her work has been selected to be included in Barrow Street, Reed Magazine, Crab Creek Review, Redivider, Pembroke, Salamander, Poet Lore, Watershed Review, Mud Season Review, Little Patuxent Review, Chiron Review, Louisiana Literature, and CALYX. Hollie has been a finalist twice for the Peseroff Prize at Breakwater Review, the Greg Grummer Poetry Prize at Phoebe, Fugue’s annual writing contest, and has received honorable mention accolades in Broad River Review. Additionally, “A Woman’s Confession#5,162” was selected as the 2017 winner of Western Humanities Review’s Mountain West Writers’ Contest. Recently, Hollie has been nominated for a 2020 Pushcart Prize and for inclusion in Best New Poets 2021. She is currently a member of the editorial board for Off the Coast.