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You Can't Shake off Old Ghosts

they keep coming back

at certain times when the wind is high

moaning at the windows in darkness,

when leaves wither into heaps,

old photo albums, leather suitcases,

bundles of yellowing envelopes

tied with musty ribbons


you can’t shake off old ghosts

voices suddenly remembered

after years in locked closets of your mind

they whimper seductively

pull at stitches in your heart

you thought were healed


partners long departed

or in distant corners, inaccessible,

parents mouthing untaken advice

it’s all for your own good

sitting around in armchairs after surgery

collecting their painful bones, shuffling away

into graves, moss covered, long neglected

with their routine Hebrew inscriptions


you can’t shake off old ghosts

their arms familiar once again

that whiff of perfume or after shave

a husky voice whispering at your ear

suddenly without warning back again

full of longing and temptation


that’s how old ghosts are

out of teardrop-filled skies there they are again

knocking at your door

it’s that time of the year again

waiting for you

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© Johnmichael Simon



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