I’m what’s left of when we
swam under the moon
-Mitski, “I Don’t Smoke

In the summer following my completion of grad school, my boyfriend Jonathan and I moved into an apartment in East Vancouver. Our search for a home had been an exhausting dead end until the final days of June. We were driving around the city, windshield wipers on to clear the summer rain, a sense of hopelessness sweeping us forward, when we saw the vacancy sign.

That’s always how it goes — you wait in a constant state of impatience for something to happen, and then suddenly everything turns on its head. A couple had already signed for the apartment and were meant to move in the following day, but they’d had to break the lease — a domestic dispute, the landlord whispers as he hands us the papers to sign.

The apartment is on the top floor of a three-story walk-up. There are ten apartments in the whole building, all of which are empty, because the landlord says that they’ve been renovating the building for the last year. More… “Ghosts Live Forever”

Gena Ellett’s writing has appeared in literary magazines across North America, including Slice, The Malahat Review, EVENT, and Gulf Coast. She lives and writes in Vancouver, BC. @HeyGenaJay



Do poets believe in ghosts? — Sonja, Houston, Texas

I think so. Lots of poets write poems about ghosts, but I want to use a voice that I have neglected so far in this column:  Archy, from Don Marquis’ “Archy and Mehitabel” series which initially appeared in New York’s The Evening Sun in 1916. Archy is a cockroach, but in his former life he was a free verse poet, so let’s see what he has to say (he has to press the keys of a typewriter by jumping on each letter with the full thrust of his weight, so he can’t bother with punctuation and capitals, but cut him a break — he’s a cockroach).

you want to know whether I believe in ghosts of course I do not believe in them if you had known as… More…