This poem is meant to pose the question to the reader.. In the face of loss and despair over the death of a loved one do we become ghosts? What I mean by that is emotionally does the living become trapped in the past? As ghosts haunt and revisit the places they once left and never move on does the living in its own reality plane do the same? Can both be ghosts? This poem is meant to challenge the ideal that to be a ghost you must be dead… I don’t think you have to be dead to be a ghost.
Ghost of She
My ritual walk begins
Down the path we used to travel
Blustery winds blow the tricolored leaves
I march on past the old fence gate
Creaking it swings to and fro
Loud crunching of leaves
Begins to cancel out my thoughts
Reaching the end of the road
Street lights flicker and hum
Turning to the right, from memory
Pavement old from wear
Crumbles and crunches under my boots
Seeing my mark
I slow to a stop
The house is vacant
Full of dark emptiness
Standing under the elm tree
Leaning on its branches
I wait patiently —
Chimes from the church begin
Ringing in the hour
A soft light appears
Glowing the once bedroom window
The light travels slowly, dutifully
Down the long hallway
Spilling into the void living room
That’s when I see her
Brilliant and white
A delicate face stares out the window
I watch her a moment
Resist the urge to wave
Slowly her features fade
Luminosity dims and vanishes
My walk back is long
Contemplating the reasons why
We both are ghosts
One living and one dead
But of the two —
Who is haunting who?
I love coffee and if your like me a cup of coffee can make or break your day. I love the smell of coffee so naturally if I smell it I instantly perk up. The smell of this wonderful elixir I connect with home, family, and Sunday mornings. I think sensory memory plays a major role for me in my life. I have always connected the smell of coffee with my grandparents. My grandfather and my grandmother both drank coffee, preferably Folders Crystals. I have to say instant coffee has never been my thing. I gave it a valiant go during my various trips to Europe but alas Starbucks became my kindred spirit.
I haven’t met anyone who drinks instant coffee since my grandparents and so the smell struck me as odd one early morning in my apartment. Ironic as it may sound I only own a Keurig and I am ashamed to say I don’t use it much. It was about 3:50 am in the morning when a strong coffee ground smell filtered into my room. I am pretty confident of the time because I had gone into the kitchen to get a glass of water and glanced at the microwave and noticed it was 3:00 am. I returned to bed and finally fell asleep.
The dream that was currently playing was about a family function and someone had mentioned they were going to go make coffee. The logic of a host offering coffee made perfect sense and unlike other dreams I have had the sequence of things seemed natural. The face of the host was a blur but they brought out mugs, sugar, milk, and a coffee pot. I think it was when the coffee was being poured that the overwhelming smell hit my nose. I remember thinking wow this is some strong coffee I’m going to need more sugar when I woke up. The smell filled the room and it was intense. I woke up my boyfriend and he lay there for a minute confused.
I exclaim ” do you smell it??” “the coffee smell?” It took him a minute for him to register the question but finally he responded “yes I do.. That is odd.”
We have lived in this apartment for a year and some change now. The tenants that live in the building with us have been our neighbors for several months and never have I smelt this before. The window was not open and as I said before we do not use our coffee machine.
I lay there astounded and the conviction in my mind was clear. We were experiencing something that can’t be explained. We were being visited by someone.
I remember saying ” someone is here..someone came to see us.” “Who is it?” My boyfriend usually is a skeptic but this experience seemed to intrigue him. ” I think it might be my mom,” he responded. A fellow coffee lover herself, and certainly someone who liked strong coffee. I thought of my grandparents and wondered, could it be one of them? I finally said out loud ” well whomever it is, thank you.”
That night I slept the best I have slept in a long time. I usually struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep for the whole night. This experience however, was a calming one a sense of warmth filled me. I am not sure if my memory manifested the smell or if we were visited by someone. What I can say is that there is no way we both would have smelt the same thing without it being present in some form. Could we have been visited by someone as a reminder? Was someone in either of our families trying to reach out to us? Maybe to let us know they were watching over us? I can honestly say I am not sure. What I can say is I have experienced things like this before and every time I am left wondering about it. I suppose these types of experiences are up to the individual person to decide. I am content to think that it is a visitor. A friendly family member stopping by for a cup of coffee. ❤️