Share https://www.terrain.org/mp3/2017/sep/McLean_GhostSpaces.mp3Ghost SpacesThere is radiance in ghost spaces, hanging in the air,a vapor stain. The terns knew it, circlingabove the dead wetland, tule, sedge and cattailin one season gone to dust. Even the yearlings knew it,shimmer of their summer tide marsh still risingthrough the alkaline cracks. This is the shapeof things in time. Vast waterscapes breathedin the bird heart, their chemical memory strungto vagrancy and flux. The men saw a horizonclogged with mud and tough bulrushes, crustof salt on the stalks, a haze of nameless insects.A billion teeming beings did not rush to greet the railroad, dyke and sump.Their look was elsewhere. After weeks of soaring, circling,muscle, hunger, they dropped from the sky in soft clotstheir bones turning to a future bounty. There is radiancein ghost spaces that still breathe and heave and fruitwith dust, shining back, between tides, betweenextinctions, the shapes of things that were, or may have been. Clara McLean lives and teaches in the San Francisco Bay Area. Earlier poems have appeared in Bird’s Thumb, By & By, Berkeley Poetry Review, and Foglifter, among others. Header photo of cracked mud by rafaeleparente, courtesy Pixabay.