36. Ghost

Early one Lenten morning, I see a handmade

Halloween ghost still hanging

on the back porch. I’m so used to it


swinging in the breeze that I had stopped noticing

its beat up body, a combination of

Kleenex, string, and a cotton ball.


If we had had any rain at all it would have

disintegrated by now, but it’s dry as July.

We’re all tired of waiting


for the other shoe to drop,

for Mom’s cancer to take the upper hand.

Yesterday she dressed up for a party —


a party I missed — my tiny fever too

risky for her toxic state.

My brother said she cleaned up real nice,


didn’t look like death warmed over,

like my little ghost, which I finally cut down

and buried in the alley trash can.