Keeping the Ghosts Warm
To keep the pipes from freezing, he said.
He kept the lights going
So nobody would know that
Only the ghosts live there now.
He kept the same phone number
That was mine, but hers and theirs before me.
Everything remained the same
From the flaking linoleum on up and
Out the rusting chimney pipe.
The carpet stayed, even with the greasy stain
From ham drippings on a Christmas past.
When her pink dogwood died
You’d think I deliberately bombed it
And used the splinters to pick my teeth.
Everything that succumbed to gradual decay
Was a misstep I’d made in the curation of this shrine.
Reluctantly, I tried to make it mine
But when I looked in the mirror all I saw was her face
Her graying hair, her stooped shoulders, her square hands.
So rather than resign myself to taking her placeI left and it was for the best.