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Emily Paige Wilson

The Ghost and the Thief Share Breakfast
“Tuesdays are the best days for hauntings,” said the ghost to the thief. “No one
suspects a specter on a Tuesday.” The ghost broke the yolk of his soft-boiled egg,
a pouch of liquid pollen. The thief nodded, reached across the table for the
bottle of creamer. He poured a sweet stream into the mug he clutched, smelled
the coffee in his cup. “I thought you said,” said the thief to the ghost, “you’d get
the hazelnut flavor next.” “Hmm,” said the ghost. The thief had been living with
the ghost for quite some time at this point. The ghost had been living once, too,
but now the ghost was a ghost. “It wasn’t on sale,” said the ghost, who himself
preferred his bitter roast kept black. The thief handled his spoon’s handle
briskly, brown circles in his cup swirled blonde. He knew of the coupons stashed
in the cabinet. Rising for work, the ghost placed his breakfast dish in the sink.
“Tuesdays,” said the ghost, “are the best days for confession.” The ghost said this
to the thief but stared past the window, past his pollen-coated car.

The Ghost and the Thief Share Lunch
The thief was working in the garden when the ghost came home for lunch. The
ghost liked how the thief lurched his hands into the dirt, kneaded soil as if
admitting his need for all that is soft. The ghost thought this was probably the
only time the thief’s hands had ever given something back. “This is probably the
only time your hands have ever given something back, huh?” said the ghost,
aware now of how much louder than the birds his voice had become. The thief
sat back on his haunches. “Huh?” said the thief. The thief couldn’t acknowledge
how the gold band around his finger choked his finger’s throat, left it all blue
with bruise and bulging veins. How he knew he’d have to amputate to get rid of
the pain but couldn’t let go of the garnet’s red burn, the pomegranate stone and
how light shone through it. “Huh?” said the thief, happy to have the ring hidden
beneath his garden gloves. The ghost noticed he could smell the smell of grass,
green and clean and non-toxic. “Well, I guess I’ll go fix us some sandwiches,”
said the ghost, promising to save the thief the last slice of cheese.

The Ghost and the Thief Share Dinner
The thief found himself interested in veganism but knew he couldn’t give up
sour cream. This is why he did not object when the ghost served roast beef and
baked potatoes for dinner. “Eat the skin,” said the ghost. “That’s where all the
fiber is.” “Ghost,” said the thief. He was afraid to ask his question. The ghost
sliced chives, placed them in a small bowl. “Ghost,” said the thief. The ghost
turned off the oven. “Ghost.” “What?” said the ghost. He hated feeling harassed
at home after a long day of haunting. He rubbed his tired wrists. “I have a
question,” said the thief. “You know the rules,” said the ghost. “We cohabitate
until you confess your theft, live among our miseries and Merlot like an aging
couple too afraid of change. This is the way of curses.” The thief slid a hand
beneath the linen napkin in his lap, ignored the burnt end of the roast. Some
record rolled out sounds in the background. “Ghost,” asked the thief, “how long
ago did you pass away?” The ghost, who had once had a name, did not like being
called Ghost. He turned to face the sink, wondering whose turn it was to buy the
next bottle of apple-scented dish soap.

Emily Paige Wilson is an MFA candidate and graduate teaching assistant at the
University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her work has appeared or is
forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, Hayden’s Ferry Review, PANK, and The Raleigh
Review, among others. In addition to Kert Green and Brauer fellowships, she has
received the 2012 Emma Howell Memorial Poetry Prize, was first runner-up in
the 2014 Indiana Review Poetry Prize, and was a semi-finalist in Tinderbox’s first
annual poetry contest. She rules her life like a fine skylark and her favorite color
is mango. Tweet her @Emmy_Golightly.