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Ghosts in the Rain
Walking down the avenue that winter eve
trees naked as Roentgen ghosts
I held this private séance with heaven
Her voice, heaven answered
crackles of wireless from a passing building
her lilting cadences, news headlines
His beard, in the trees
twisting twigs, feathered nests in toothless grin.
Look and believe, said the rain
Mother ironing, folding warm garments
shivering in patterns from misty street lamps, hanging them
on fence boards, then the wind rose, I hurried home
a gust of sudden downpour whipped my umbrella.
They’re all there, shouted the lightning, singing,
twisted skeleton, skin and girders, dancing in the rain
collapsing, capsizing exhausted between the trees.
She hauled her weak body off the bed, all bone
and thinness, tore aside the curtains
Now do you believe? Lifting structured arms
of flapping fabric. Gone into the night!
The wind whipped her, a whirling bat
tumbling, wings outstretched
Now do you believe? shrieking, flinging a final card
on to the table, fingers pushing it towards me.
Look, listen and understand!
Then I saw, in a single instant as lightning flashed,
rows of faces, flickering, staring, an audience of clouds
stretching from street lamp to horizon, all eyes and parchment
I raced for home, drenched as a dog, a sodden leaf
Half a century later still caught between apparitions and disbelief
a creature in the rain swept between heaven and home
© Johnmichael Simon
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