Ghost Says, Hey Mom, It’s Dylan By Mary Carroll-Hackett His name is Dylan, not was, his name is son, that boy who never made it here, but who slept for half a year beneath my ribs, curled against his twin brother. He is not gone. He is not replaceable. He is not the other. He is still here. I am mother to four. I see him sometimes, leaning against the door in my classroom as I teach, his cool blue eyes so much like his oldest brother’s, his wheat blond hair just like the sister who would have claimed him as her baby, her boy, her doll. He leans against the wall and watches as I work, the same lean athletic frame as his living twin, twenty-one years since that dawn I woke to losing him, blood in the sheets, waves of heat announcing his going, his escape back into spirit. In that early dark, I made blades of my hands and scraped the cotton, scooped bits of warm wet flesh up from the bed, until that child’s father pulled me away, said, Stop it. I couldn’t hear it. I only heard that child singing, his own creation song, that boy to man I thought I’d never see, who even today whispers to me, Mom, shhh, don’t cry. I wasn’t supposed to stay. You didn’t do anything wrong. Mary Carroll-Hackett is the author of The Real Politics of Lipstick (Slipstream 2010), Animal Soul (Kattywompus Press 2013), If We Could Know Our Bones (A-Minor Press 2014), The Night I Heard Everything (FutureCycle Press 2015), and Trailer Park Oracle (Kelsey Books 2015). Another collection, A Little Blood, A Little Rain, is forthcoming from FutureCycle Press in 2016. She teaches at Longwood University, and with the MFA faculty at West Virginia Wesleyan. Mary is at work on a memoir.