by Puzzled Poet
Two ghosts in a restless house by the sea.
She lives alone on her private archipelago. (I visit her every night.)
Still she sleeps. Quietly, quietly. Hush of wind draws back the curtain, revealing sleeping moon tucked in by shades. Its dreams lay in perfect square slices on the floor, silvery white. All else is dark.
“Why are all the girls so hungry,” she asks. Breath like ice on a tropical night. (She can’t see me.) (She still knows I’m there.) I am her comfort these days. I float motionlessly toward her and settle just over her bed. Quietly, quietly. (Don’t want to wake her.) “Why are all the girls so hungry?”
Husband dead, family driven away. A rich, old woman—rotting away. Undoubtedly on the brink of madness. (No wonder she knows I’m here.)
“I don’t know, Mrs. Porter,” I breathe, sitting with my back toward her. Hush of skin draws back blanket, revealing sleeping crone tucked in by shades. Her dreams lay shattered on the floor—silvery white. “Maybe something in the water.
“Why are all the boys so lonely,” she asks. Icy breath shifts in tempo and register—she’s not asleep anymore. I
remain as I am; I continue to stare down the wall opposite her. Quietly, quietly. (Don’t want to break her.)
“I don’t know, Mrs. Porter,” I repeat.
“Why are all the boys so lonely?”
“Maybe it’s the cold, Mrs. Porter. The common cold.”
I feel the bed shift under me—feel. (Ha.) She’s sitting up now, head and shoulders resting on the wooden headboard. (I know her eyes are open.) I remain as I am. She seems to ponder my answer, then either accepts it or dismisses it. (I can’t tell.)
I feel her eyes on me. She can’t see me. (Still knows I’m there.) I rise, still facing away, and slide to the window. Quietly, quietly. Silver and black moonbeams echo off a restless sea.
I hear her throat catch. She wants to speak, but can’t. Bedsprings creak; she sits up. Flick, flick. The curtain flaps by an excited beat of wind. Bedsprings creak; she settles back to her headboard. Flick, flick.
Quietly, quietly! The tranquil room suddenly seems full of sound, piercing sound, scratching sound. Flick, flick! Shhh, begs the breeze. Another bedspring creaks as the old woman shifts. Tock, tock, tock, screams a grandfather clock, three rooms away. The whole house seems to pulse. Quietly! I implore. Quietly!
She’s right behind me. I cannot hide from her anymore. I pivot around, frightened. (What irony, an old woman scaring a—well.) She looks—into me, not past me. Crystal tears shiver down the rivulets on her face. Her green eyes are paling, fading. (She looks more the part than I do.) (So sad!)
Breaking in her eyes.
Breaking in our eyes.
Shaking, earthquake of sorrow. Quietly, quietly. (Don’t want to break her.)
“Why are all the girls so hungry,” she asks.
“Why are all the boys so lonely,” she asks.
“I don’t know, Mrs. Porter, I don’t know.”
I see her throat catch. She gasps but keeps control.
“Why can’t anybody see me,” she asks.
Silver and black moonbeams echo off a restless me.
“I don’t know, Mrs. Porter. I don’t know.”