Ghosts Don’t

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Ghosts Don't (A free-form poem by Ruthanne Reid)

Ghosts don’t mean to scare you.
They want to be noticed
Remembered, recalled, reviewed.

Ghosts don’t want to be forgotten.
(Would you?)
Sometimes, they play games—
Marbles on the stairs,
Batter disappearing off spoons,
Weird sounds in the closet, or
Under the bed.

Ghosts don’t mean to cause trouble.
They just want you to laugh,
To think that rattled chains
Are funny
As they think chains are funny.
And moans? The peak of ghost humor.

Ghosts don’t want to remember
Birthdays, or national anthems,
But they do like old songs sung
Over their graves
Dramatically
And with proper gallows humor.

Ghosts don’t mind small voices—
Little costumes and contagious laughs,
The mad slap of tiny shoes
In herds
Up the concrete drive.

Ghosts don’t hate you
Or want you to leave
Or wish that you’d never
Inherited their home.
They’re just lonely
Like you.

So put out some extra tea.
Talk to empty rooms.
Smile in the mirror
Over your left shoulder,
And when your pets stare at nothing,
Don’t pull them away.
They’re just confused
By unseen scratches
And that cold, whispered kiss.

Ghosts don’t mean to scare you.
They just want you to know:
It’s not over
When the fat lady sings.