Like those tellers of ghost stories
who want you to know that they don’t believe
in phantoms, the Scrooges with their chunks of beef,

like Auden telling his prep school boys
to write an essay with a lie in every sentence,
I tell you this:

it isn’t a ghost tale of murder and vade mecum,
no Poe prowling the ventricle,
just this—

as I worked late last night in my cold study,
it seemed my grandmother Mary
and her sister Old Aunt Lizzie¬¬

who had spent their last years living together
bickering and watching Lawrence Welk
whom they always referred to as Lawrence—

were just beyond the bedroom, walking
in that kitchen that is still a part of me,
the one propped up on stilts at the back of the house

built on a hill, almost an afterthought,
there they were here again with their loose hairpins
and handmade aprons with rick-rack borders,

talking it seemed about this and squat
as I used to hear them in the kitchen below
talking to my grandfather before he died.

Lois Marie Harrod’s 16th and most recent collection, Nightmares of the Minor Poet appeared in June 2016 from Five Oaks. She is continually published in literary journals and online ezines from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. Visit her online work at