Catching Ghosts In Summer

slow emphatic automobile

draws to a halt

close enough for door

opening catching tree

metal on nature

only sound that hot morning,

unaware or uncaring

he stood and wiped hands

damp from steering a long way

on pants,

out of city into suburban country,

some things had been forgotten

as if an egg timer

had it’s sand shaken loose,

mind conjured and played tricks,

as he looked at what could

only be a desolate shack,

collapsed porch

dark smoke mascara

about window edges

bleak eyes that wound,

no hurry in placing feet

a kind of lawn congealed

with weeds and long brambles,


touch bottle in jacket pocket

making sure it’s still there

whiskey would be only thirst quencher

as water cut off

nothing was disguised

it could be yesterday

fingered  wedding band

his second the first removed

gone it hurt in a painful tightness,

timbers cracked door flat inside

still smelled smoke,

across the wall graffiti

where family pictures once hung

stirred dust with feet

voices came back as soft ghosts

still caught in this place,

he took a sip of whiskey

sweat traveled across his brow,

jar rattled on the floor

dog barked beyond decaying

timber confines,

other pocket heavy as well

as he slipped jacket off,

whiskey bottle put on what was

the kitchen table

charred becoming lopsided,

drew revolver with every chamber full,

a heavy sun filled yard

put short shadows on the fence,

gardeners with hosepipe,





heard the bang

a short report

announcing another ghost





Oh Lucky Red Stripes

TV exploded one night

electric flame caught nylon curtains

in arterial surge across

ceiling and wall,

smoke chemical thick

made molasses about the room

crawling under doors,

dad shouted

in lucky red stripes

snatching me from my bed,

mom already on porch roof,

jumping into uneven sprawl,

windows shattered

glitter fragments on the lawn,

sirens loud and quick

sister also free,

just dad and me,

smoke kissed me

crawling into my throat

dad held me close,

he too coughed,

we felt hot

as searing walls made about us,

other voices,

firemen slicks and axes

breaking and smashing

either them or fire,

landing window,

face in illuminated mask looking up

and i was dropped

suspended mid air,

heat reached for me,

strong arms caught

face pressed to chest

we ran,

explosion reverberated through


gas erupted,

i thought of dad and cried

on fender of LaFrance 79

was being assured

warm voices a hand in my hair,

another explosion

as gallons sprayed and poured

it was over now,

and i raise my head

emerging from the smoke

lucky red stripes now smeared

pajamas mom bought he hated,

she said they would be lucky

one day.