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How Not to Live with House Ghosts

 
Our childhood home was replete with ghosts
not only in the attic
(which was stuffy, dark, and full of broken
bits of furniture that looked like
it had been hurled off a cliff
before being stashed in our attic)
but also in the dirt-floored cellar.
Wed hear them on their nightly haunts
creaking up and down the stairs,
rustling in and out of crowded closets
tapping lightly on walls.
Our mom and dad assured us kids
these ghostly interlopers
lived only in our fevered imaginations.
But just in case, they said,
(trying not to smile)
heres what you do:
Close your eyes and count to ten
the ghosts will stop, the noise will end.
And if the creaks begin again
close your eyes and count to ten.
So, being reasonably obedient children,
my sisters and I,
when our ghosts stirred in the night
wed count with squeezed-shut eyes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
over and over and over,
until finally drifting into dreamful sleep
where we chatted cheerily
with these departed souls
and became friends of a sort.
Note of warning:
Do NOT become friends with ghosts
or they will never leave you alone.

Pamela J. Jessen

If you have any thoughts about this poem,  Pamela Jessen would be pleased to hear them


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