Mourning Person, by Anuja Mitra

most ghost sightings are grief
hallucinations. no one wants to admit
to delusion, even when induced
by tragedy. scientists say

we are shifting things, our minds
always revising. what the brain
names reality is nothing more
than prediction — and it continues

to predict when empty
of evidence. thus the flickers
in our vision that we will
into figures. thus the yearning

for a return, whatever the cost.
but think of it: a face you remember
in a shape you do not. love
is a kind of horror

we summon to find our peace.
forget the hauntings that bring no relief.
where you would pray, for once,
to be denied the truth. to whisper

I know you’re here,
if you want,
but God, don’t
let me see you.

Anuja Mitra lives in Aotearoa New Zealand, where she writes a bit of everything. Her poetry and fiction with a speculative slant have appeared in Haven Speculative, Lamplight, A Clear Dawn: New Asian Voices from Aotearoa New Zealand, and Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy, which won the 2023 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Collected Work. In her spare time, she enjoys patting her cats and browsing indie bookstores for beautiful editions of books she already owns. Her Twitter and linktree can be found @anuja_m9.

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