Ghosts in the ground

by Cecilia Resio

The cat was staring at something I could not see:
a ghost. In the midst of the gracefully and geometrically stacked up wood, there was a ghost.
It was a female ghost, I think: the plants of the graves, the sprouts of the Père Lachaise,
had immediately turned an unprecedented pink.
What a sudden and unnatural thing, I thought.

It is my habit to go to cemeteries that preserve
the remains of my beloved deceased and pick up little plants and small shrubs from their graves.
Then I plant them in my pots and watch them grow, become big and bold,
fight against the winds of the fifth floor, the sudden hail
and the hurricanes that sweep the sky as if it were the vestibule of a dusty God.

From the graves of these dead come my little, botanic creatures,
often born from nothing, but worshippers of the ground:

The handing down of roots, their exposure to the sun and all the elements,
their opening into the sky from the ground,
all this makes me happy and an innocent thief:
my best quality.

Oscar Wilde († 1900), Camille Pissarro († 1903), Paul Lafargue († 1911),
Guillaume Apollinaire († 1918), Adelina Patti († 1918), Amedeo Modigliani († 1920),
Marcel Proust († 1922), Sarah Bernhardt († 1923), Isadora Duncan († 1927),
Gertrude Stein († 1946), Paul Éluard († 1952), Colette († 1954), Édith Piaf († 1963),
Max Ernst († 1976), Maria Callas († 1977), Marcel Camus († 1982),
Georges Perec († 1982), Michel Petrucciani († 1999).