The place where I would walk my dog in the winter
or in the rain.
A place where a teenage daughter landed
when she took a running leap out
her 13th floor window.
A place where German Shepherds
sniffed for living bodies
when the connecting building fell down.
A place where nightmares developed,
where fears incubated,
where ghosts were born.
The courtyard is still there but I'm not.
There's a gulch in its place
where battles where fought
and warriors died.
The ghosts followed me here,
parading around like important lessons,
slapping my nose when I blink
or turn my head
or sniff the air.
They sit on the edge of my bed watching me sleep.
They tease my pets when it's raining.
They dart into and out of rooms when I'm not paying attention,
trying on my clothes and shoes and necklaces when I'm out.
I feel sorry for them not knowing why they haunt,
what makes them have to hide and dart about,
who hurt them or turned away.
They grew up alone like me with parents that were angry with each other
because they were both more beautiful than the other.
Or a mother who forgot to stop crying because dad left in the end.
Or a town so full that no one noticed the bad little girl.
Where a bird, an invisible bird, an only friend, disappeared for real one day.
Where adultery broke the seal on crazy.
These ghosts were bullied by neighbors too.
Or had an uncle that made them stay on his lap.
Or an aunt who became blind.
Or a closet full of other people's clothes.
Where there's no other choice
but becoming a ghost too.