FALL 2007

Laura Ciraolo

There’s a ghost next door
who howls through my walls
whose howls float in my house
like clouds.
My brother’s ghost has a short cropped beard
and wears dark turtleneck sweaters
a gold anchor hangs on a chain around his neck
a hammerhead shark is tattooed on his forearm
his house looks out to the sea
where French doors open onto
a deck and a captain’s walk.
Here his ghost spends long hours
looking through a brass telescope
scanning the horizon out beyond the whitecaps
until sails appear along with his smile.
My sister’s ghosts are everywhere.
In her kitchen I see her hands
in red striped oven mitts,
In the dining room the blues
are tears and her ghost
drifts over every empty seat.
My grandfather was a ghost until my grandmother joined him.
Together they have better things to do.
In the lethargy of a hot summer day
Strange breezes blow in over the mountains
And I am a ghost wandering empty spaces.
The other ghosts haunting here sleep in my bed
And crowd the closet with their things.
They sit in the empty lawn chairs
Smoking and drinking, laughing and talking loud.
I close my eyes and listen with my heart.

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