My new home needs some ghosts! The ones that hover in memory and find their way to the floorboards, a patina of cremains that creaks with old joys, hurts, triumphs and defeats— the bark of good boys sitting patiently in their mahogany box above the dust of Cleopatra in her oaken tomb, always the silent bitch with the sad brown eyes and lolling tail and paw that planted square on my heart.
There are other queens too, stored in hieroglyphics urns, memory jugs, the anamnesis of hauntings packed away in the dark corner of my closet among medical records, teddy bears and the remnants of unfinished poems that may never be unpacked- the whisper of my mother’s voice, the final cry of a once good friend, all secrets destined to linger.
My neighbors are tornado survivors, some retirees, a smattering of wealthy Indian Kashmir refugees. My Pomchi girl is always barking at the noise of all the outside construction. The explosive growth unfolds like an old hydrogen bomb test reel played in reverse (the black and white one that shows clapboard houses blasting forward in the kiloton winds), a time lapse exposure of place creating its own irreversible destruction.
Today I missed a face time call from my dad, who is in the ICU on a ventilator, rounding the corner (they say) from a respiratory infection of unknown origin. It’s twilight and the street sweeper outside wheezes as it sucks up another new layer of concrete particles and saw dust. Little brown girls in pastel helmets ride pink and yellow bikes pass my window until the dust cakes to mud, the tires click and the forward progress stops, forcing them to dismount and walk then lift their bikes back home.
My wife decides we need to make a video message to cheer up my dad. It has been so long since I’ve seen him that the memory of his face is fading away. After three attempts it (the one with the dog) was good enough to upload via Ichat. I twinged at the idea of my dad’s passing, making me like my wife, whose parents expired years ago, a technical orphan, how the blessed curse of a long lived life is orphanhood, widowhood, watching death collect the dust of all you love and disperse it finely, neatly, evenly among the floorboards of the house you so so carefully constructed. Still, I look down at my feet and hear the rasp of silence turn into a rattle, and imagine, no- know and see, the first ghost folding itself into the yellow chair.