Lately, her ghost’s been been floating back
into the edge of my consciousness again,
like the first robin showing up each February
as a flash of vermillion in the corner of my eye.
Then disappearing again.
It’s something I’ve come to expect on the downhill run
from the Winter Solstice to the Vernal Equinox.
But I know it’s just my imagination. It has to be.
She hasn’t spoken to me in years and I believe
I’ve even forgotten the sound of her voice.
Also, if she ever spoke to me, I’m sure
I wouldn’t want to hear how her she sounded
or what she said. It would chill my spine
like that February wind that cuts right through me.
Fear? Hell, yeah, it’s fear. It wasn’t supposed to end
this way, my Civic sitting there on those
twisting railroad tracks. It was inevitable, though,
once she pulled out of my station and turned that corner
to her new life. It really was for the best.
Obsession can kill you like some creature of darkness
that’ll reach out to grab you. Tear you apart.
But then, out of nowhere, there she was,
comin’ around that mountain like a reanimated Casey Jones.
I wasn’t looking for that ride anymore, though. I’d given up,
traded in my ticket for this keen parking place
atop the once-shiny, long twin silver lines of hope.
No, I didn’t hear it coming. I’d turned up my stereo
deafeningly loud again, after years of being unable
to listen to it.
The melodies sounded vaguely familiar, but I’d forgotten
so many of the lyrics. So, as always, I replayed them
over and over, again and again, until I knew every breath.
Obsession, right? Reliving and reliving each note
and every word and inflection and inhalation.
And then, there she was, coming on like a snow-blind
Lake Shore Limited out of Chicago.
So here I am today, hanging around in the same old spot,
not sure of the date or even if it’s day or night,
when that flicker of a memory, that flash of a face,
that barely perceptible sound of a voice slices through me
like I’m made of smoke, as if I’m some kind of wraith.
Maybe she’s not the ghost haunting me after all.
Free-write (which I used to do every Friday) because I really am like that ghost. Full of naught but hazy promises, empty dreams and nothing of substance. I’m a spirit that’s willing, but can offer no creative corporeality. Which is so weak.