disrobing the ghost

by Michael Virga
The Writer's Block
Third Place, November 2014
Judged by Philip Belcher


his robe on
yet as uninhabited as hers

resting twice upon a time

on the shoulders

of the reclining lift chair

unwhirling from cloth
beyond some wear in time
raising the shades

the rush of the full moon fills him . . .
his heel brushing by her comb
left — in our bedroom — still

on the worn rug
the soles warm
following in the glow of her footsteps

to free from the weave of fabric

reunited in the one his & her robe of light


Besides the delight a reader takes in this poem’s attention to diction, e.g. “twice upon a time,” “some wear in time,” and “raising the shades,” I want to mention the poem’s ambition. Ambition is sometimes discussed in terms of a poem’s scope, or lack thereof—the depth of what is being attempted. Here, I think the ambition is inherent in the poet’s effort to describe in a fresh way what could be a clichéd scene—lover separated by death finally reunited. The element of craft that makes this work is the specificity of the description, particularly “his heel brushing by her comb . . . left on the worn rug . . . .” In addition, the irregular line breaks work nicely with the subject and the tone of the poem. It is always a good thing when form and content work together, and the poet has done a nice job of that in this poem. --Philip Belcher

  • December 2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Avaricious
      by Judy Kaber
      The Waters

      Second Place

      To James Bulger, aged 2, murdered February 1993
      by two boys aged 10 in Liverpool, England
      by Christopher T. George
      Babilu

      Third Place

      Dr. Pachango’s Mango
      by Jim Fowler
      Babliu

  • November 2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Notorious RBG
      by Laurie Byro
      Babilu

      Second Place

      To My Old Age
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters

      Third Place

      Beggar’s Lice
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block