Doug Ramspeck

Ghost Lullaby

And if the river is still whispering of the boy,

the mother dreams that the ribcage

of years constructs the raised bridge of willows

at the water’s edge. And since once a body

formed itself from liquid and loam,

there must be a spirit in the thin skin of snow

come winter, the layering of ice, the way years

build themselves one atop the next. The ghosts

dance into this shape she understands: black waters

moving out beneath a night sky, the milk

of stars spilling from a forgotten breast.

Doug Ramspeck is the author of four poetry books. His most recent collection, Original Bodies, was selected for the Michael Waters Poetry Prize for Southern Indiana Review Press. Two earlier books also received awards: Mechanical Fireflies (Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize), and Black Tupelo Country (John Ciardi Prize). Individual poems have appeared in journals that include Kenyon Review, Slate, Southern Review, and Georgia Review. He directs the Writing Center and teaches creative writing at The Ohio State University at Lima.