Bitter ghosts, long since laid to rest, have
come back today. I turn away, chalking
symbols onto the wall; thinking of Jesus
kneeling, drawing in dirt.

Stubborn ghosts, summoned by
stiff-necked egos, resentful of growth:
screaming silent threats at me,
denying, denying.

I turn to face them, making vague
gestures, mouthing incantations from
the half-remembered lyrics of songs
that stir up cheer.

The ghosts and those invoking them
fly at me now, rattling chains and
wailing, trying too hard to rattle
my cage, and failing.

Their zeal has dissolved my own
weariness. Playfulness emerges from
within. I keep my tongue in check:
no mocking, no scoffing.

I muster instead the courage for antics.
I will make them laugh unawares, like
children caught out mid-tantrum. I will
dance for these ghosts.

I feel vulnerable now, but the ghosts
are clearly confused. They are trying to
leave, vexing their masters, who curse
my tomfoolery.

Nobody cracks a smile, but I’m laughing
inside. I think I see a ghost sway somewhat
rhythmically, breaking the spell. Now we’ll
really party, I think.


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