Apparitions, if you acquire an old house in New England

typically, people gently ask about ghosts
as if it’s normal to have a suicide or two in the walls
or down the hallway

here, though, Squirrel should have noticed their silence
not that there weren’t chills or clanking in the night
but rather the unvoiced sequence of divorces
amid music, art, serious drama aspirations
all vanishing in disorderly party rumors

in time, neighbors would mention
fragments they remembered, hardly enough
for substantial narrative, all the same, lingering

for now, his ghosts were more pressing:
a chimney demanding relining pronto, before the house ignited
a roof in need of new shingles
on wet days, their parlor smelled of something indefinite

one repair led to another
instigating his furious bushy kindred to leap out
from the parlor’s bay window and run across the arms of a roofer
before gnawing through new crown molding

ghosts mocked him, in public, all right
even reminded him he was growing a tail
which he denied, cutting hedges to six feet, just half their height

amassing garage-sized brush piles, he was ambushed
by anger and resentment and other dark spirits
even as he rooted out obstinate boxwood and cedar
for intended lettuce beds (ache, by God, ache!)
his Lady of the Cookie Tins never planted, not there

still, they submitted their letter requesting marriage
after the manner of Friends and then, acknowledging
invisible currents, spent a fine gray day flying kites
with the kids beside the ocean before
the sump-pump failed and flooded out the furnace

poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson


Rat Tat 1

For more of my home and garden poems, click here.


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