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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

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© Johnmichael Simon



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