note: This poem was originally written and then recorded in late fall of 2021. In the fall of 2023, I have returned to it, and have been editing and expanding on the original poems.

2021 Version

A poem in 12 parts, using my breathing rhythms while running (3 foot strikes, a breath, then 2 foot strikes, a breath) to shape the syllables in each couplet (3/2).

Some Inspirations and the Process

After rereading a blog post and finding the inspiration for one of my haunt poems in it on 30 September 2022, I’ve decided to catalog these sources of inspiration as I rediscover them.

iv. Loosen threads

ready to
ghost it
to flare and
as shadow
a flash
of what else
could be

Thinking more about #5, my shadow down in the ravine. As I watched it below me, I thought about ghosts and shadows and faint traces of things not quite here. I imagined the shadow as a different version of me, having the chance to run below in the ravine. And I thought (again, because I’m sure I’ve thought this before) about these quick moments or flashes of something else — shadows, faint trails, breaks in the trees, a disembodied sound coming from somewhere un-locatable — as opportunities, possibilities, evidence of other ways of being or doing. Are these things real? That’s not the point. They’re suggestions or indications, other options.

RUN! log entry, November 8, 2021
v. Restless

Only blur —
up out in-
to air,
onto ground,
from forms roads
the need
to move with
haste or

I discuss the idea of fizzing up/out, into/onto in a log entry from November 15th, 2021:

Working on a poem about feeling like a ghost, mostly because of my vision — fuzzy, out of focus, disconnected. Thought about that every so often during the run. Stopped on the grounds of the Veteran’s home to record an idea about not feeling fizzy but flat, or a flat fizz? Not so much light but weighted/heavy with distance and separation and invisible layers. Almost protected, wrapped. But…do I feel heavy or something else? Weightless but not light or heavy because in my untethered state, lightness or heaviness aren’t felt so they can’t be used for reference. I am a hovering ghost who is not heavy or light but hidden, unnoticed, lacking substance, insubstantial.

RUN! log entry, November 15, 2021

released from forms is taken from A. R. Ammons’ “Corsons Inlet“:

the walk liberating, I was released from forms,
from the perpendiculars,
straight lines, blocks, boxes, binds
of thought

viii. Eavesdrop

Feel the
you, the path,
people. Free
off the
hook unseen
to listen
in to
and not
be judged to
give it

A great run. I’m working on a long, sequence poem about haunts, haunting, and haunted, and I had a few good thoughts, like the idea of haunting (frequenting, traveling on, slightly floating above) the path/trail as being (happily) out of touch. Disconnected. I thought about the image of a phone being off the hook and eavesdropping, to listen in, overhear, catch bits of someone else’s conversation. Everything an opportunity to be curious and imagine/guess what’s being said without needing to connect that imagination to reality.

RUN! log entry, November 10, 2021
xi. I want her with me

I’ve heard her
call my
name through a
horn, the soft
rising from
the gorge

Today is the 9th anniversary of my mom’s death. At one point during the run I thought about her and how this day doesn’t make me come undone as much as it used to. Then I talked to her in my head, telling her I loved her and missed her and that I was finally feeling happy and hopeful again, after years of struggling with many losses. Heard the rowing coach (was it the coxswain?) on his bullhorn calling out orders about straight arms and faster rates. At one point he said the name Sara–was it “you can do it Sara” or “good job Sara”? I imagined that it was my mom speaking to me, telling me that she knew I was okay.

RUN! log entry from September 30, 2018

felt her tap
in the
tassel’s tug
as wind
knocked against
my cap

About a mile into the run one of the tassels on my hat, which had been my mom’s cross country skiing hat before she died, hit my shoulder like it was tapping me, trying to get my attention. My mom saying hello? I imagined her there with me.

RUN! log entry from February 7, 2018


summer I
wait for

winter, the
leaves to

leave, the veil
to lift,

the other
side to

be revealed.
I try

to squint hard

to see her

home — just four
miles east —

Thought about my mom while I was running and looking over to St. Paul. Is this one of the reasons I like to have an obstructed view to the other side of the river? To see St. Paul, the city where my mom was born and raised (technically, she lived in West St. Paul, but close enough)?

RUN! log entry from march 12, 2018

As I looked over at the other side of the gorge–the east side and sometimes St. Paul, sometimes Minneapolis side–I suddenly understood something about why I like to see beyond the thickly thatched trees lining the bluff. The view is not just about seeing the forest floor and the river, it’s about seeing the other side. And seeing the other side is about possibilities, other perspectives, other/new ways of being, hope beyond this rutted reality, more than only this/here/now, the future, not really death but maybe a little about death, that which is not-me/not-I, outside of my self, beyond, beside, to where my mom was born and lived until she left for college [West St. Paul].

RUN! log entry from November 1, 2019

2023 Version

In this version (still in progress), I’m taking most of the original poem and building off of it to dig deeper into what it means to haunt and be haunted by ghosts, by a place, as a girl who runs and writes and is losing her central vision. A common refrain throughout this expanded poem is: girl ghost gorge, with the voices of all 3 constantly overlapping and in conversation with each other. What might that look like as a form? I’m still trying to figure that out. To help me, I’m looking to some of my favorite poets:

  • Tape for the Turn of the Year by A.R. Ammons
  • “Circumambulation of Mt. Tamalpais” by Forrest Gander
  • “Lake Superior” by Lorine Niedecker
  • The Leaf and the Cloud by Mary Oliver
  • Dart and Nobody by Alice Oswald
  • North | Rock | Edge by Susan Tichy