Cradle-born to the high church, she spent every turn from Epiphany to Nativity on a needlepoint kneeler her great-grandmother stitched until that warm July Sunday in ’74, when she bore a son with seizures, one they quickly suggested was best left at home.
They still send their newsletters, appeals for funds, announce parish meetings to discuss what to do about the ravens that jump up and down on the roof, their litany of caws that drown out the priest.
When she shows at St. Michael and All Angels, she slips into a pew, takes her place at the back, leaves before the sermon and Eucharist—fed now, not by thin wafers and wine, stories she can no longer swallow, but by the music, candles and incense,
Artificial skeletons are hardly ever displayed now in thought or in sight. Shop windows are voided of all but surgical masks. Imagine what all the uncut pumpkins must think of the strange ones this year.
Halloween was the time of Ghede whose breath smelled of freshly turned earth and was once caught soaping a skeptic’s window. The scariest thing I see are trogs knuckle drag-racing from coast to flaming coast. . The poet said angels often don’t know when they are among ghosts or the living. At least TV makes me feel angelic when my only contact with reality is Jim, my Asperger neighbor
and Brit Hume. This prayer-consuming peace feels like the slow-motion before the crash: those precious count-downs to what you, and I, and all must taste.
In this precise facsimile of Krapp’s den, I wander in a replay life and wonder how I will know when I’m a ghost. I’ll be sure to ask my calavera when its empty.