Poetry

Sophia Street ghost stories

We sat beading on the couch

necklaces which would carry colour

to our vegetarian cosmetic-free skin.

No secret we lived in a morgue from Civil War days

and this south of the bloody Mason-Dixon line

so the patter of running feet that followed the sound

of breaking glass didn't shock, but still our eyes

widened and brightened to light bulbs.

In fact it was the light bulb that intrigued us.

The way it broke so the middle remained

and the surrounding sides had smashed to the ground

all over the ground so we had to put on shoes.

 

That was Virginia and now you're in Scotland

while I have a family in Australia.

Nearly twenty years later I understand the permanency

of the Sophia Street Ghost.

I see how quickly our feet have shuffled

how loud was the noise as we stomped over the earth

how fast we blinked one scene to the next

how our bodies transcended space so easily

even laden with flesh and burdened by bone

carrying all of that air in our lungs.

We lived with that ghost on a daily basis

expecting the most unexpected reminders

and smiled thrillingly when our own bedrooms

had been its canvas of quiet communication.

I never thought then if it wanted to be in that three storey home

for a hundred years, if it wanted to live somewhere else.

 

We write to one another about meeting in the middle:

a holiday in Greece

between Scotland and Australia.

Just over the Atlantic lies Fredericksburg, Virginia

and the Sophia Street Ghost.

I click at the keyboard:

perhaps in the end it is death

that will ground us.

Press 'send' to the satellites.

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