[Silent Night / Chet Baker & Christpher Mason]
Ghosts at Christmas
My grandmother will not go away.
Years ago, she waited for the weekly
Visit my mother and I would make
After work. On the wall over her bed
Hung a reproduction of “Blue Boy,”
The one tactless possession that she kept
As the room and she grew smaller.
Having been a nurse during the Great War,
She understood and chatted with
Her keepers as they too became
Part of her extended family. Whoever
Came to her door, or to her room,
Was welcome and went away well fed
After a tender conversation.
Now when she visits late at night,
She wants me out of bed to plant
Tomatoes in the back yard, but
I have no back yard, only a rock
Parking lot. I ask if she’s tracked down
My grandfather, whose death so haunted
Her, and she blushes until she disappears.
I appreciate my grandmother’s final confusions.
Aging’s a process of giving up, but when nobody
Visits, I wonder what I’m still hanging around for.
Fruit of the month comes in the mail, not
From the back yard, and I’ve never been able
To grow anything, not even children,
And all I have left are ghosts at Christmas.
[Disposable Poem December 13, 2015]