Bethany Powell

The ghost smells of attic–
exposed insulation
suffocated heat waves and mouse dander.
A breath on my neck,
a long draft of warm waiting.
Why shouldn’t ghosts haunt prefabs, trailers, McMansion faux garrets?
It asks.
As long as there is thought and pain and the danger of a burial
(of the past, of the bones, of the dark)
then shouldn’t there be haunts?
and depressing.
For yes–as long as a person is within a house
it can become a silent tomb
(of dreams, of hats, of lost children and faces)
though perhaps not so pleasing to literature
as the drips of fogs on ancestral eaves
and the tatters of girls in nightgowns, sobbing against doors.
I, maybe, would feel more at home there.
With a longer attic to cover in dust-rimed old furniture,
to hid the distinct tang of rotting resentments.
I open a window, fan the ghost off,
and therefore untethered
so the breeze is the greatest enemy.
“You will remember me and then you’ll be–”
Sorry, I say.

Bethany Powell has moved enough to be well acquainted with the ghosts of new and left-behind homes. Currently she lives in Oklahoma where she is more unsettled by the way hauntings pile up after living somewhere for over ten years in a row. Her poetry has appeared recently in Asimov’s, Through the Gate, and Riddled By Arrows as well as Liminality. You can read most of these by visiting bethanypowell.com.