There is a Ghost in your Willow Tree
There is a ghost in your willow tree
Small and white
Like a kite whipping in and out of the very top rounded branches
Above the drooping boughs dancing over the fire we have built.
Every time she peeks out and smiles down to me
She says that she knows this, comforts me
You see your new home is near where there was an old home
And this willow tree was placed here long ago
And as she has watched over that departed family
She now watches us and even the family to come
She saw racetrack hill where you grew up
She saw the main house and all the son’s trailers and chicken coops
Structures, cages set like clotted dams preventing the blood to fill the dirt track below
She saw the child gasping for breath in the trailer with the intricate tv antenna
She saw the boy who died for breath in his dark room
She heard the shots as crazy auntie gave up
She heard the thump of a fist slur in the stomach that swelled like a ridiculous cross
Over the clouds that said it rains blood here all the time
She saw the spiraling satanic eyes of cousins who fanged the lambs
The ghost saw the blood flow down the ruts in the main drive, trickling and getting stuck behind
Abandoned trucks and weeds.
Sometimes good for hide and seek
She heard the screams and tears
She shuttered to be a ghost back then
It was a terrible thing to be a ghost and not stop the wound
But now she smiles maybe for the first time as the daughters of racetrack hill;
Have children, pray and grow sad in their mirrors.
But one, just one has broken free and ran down the hill
The racetrack was always so loud
The sound of the racetrack blotted out the hope of anyone hearing
The race-track smirked and said boys will be boys
She covered her ears and ran as the dented metal, pistons and exhaust
Laughed over french-fries with ketchup
The entire audience mocking her soul that stood with a wilting trophy
At the winner’s circle
She kept running until she reached this willow tree
And she thought to herself, how pretty
And she lay down and looking up
Am I pretty?
Yes, the ghost squealed yes, you are pretty!
The woman could not see the ghost in the willow tree
But she made a decision that she kept quiet
She set ablaze a fire in her heart and burned down racetrack hill
Kerosene now trickled in the ruts down toward the empty racetrack
Am I worthy?
Yes, the ghost sang out yes you are worthy
She looks back at the charred ruins of the Wiscasset empire
Atop a hill that overlooks an empty racetrack.
A timber, a black post like a beheading spike distinguishes rancid smoke
All that is left is the shape of what was
The ghost in the willow tree flits out to peek
Anxiety as she glances down the aisles of Wal-Mart, forgetting which aisle the
Item is in. Little things are hard
But there is a ghost in the willow tree that will always be eager
No, God has not forgotten you! No, He is not angry!
No, No, No!
The woman may never come back, but the ghost always answers yes
To a heart that needs to believe in her courage and beauty
Yes, Yes, Yes!