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There is a Ghost in your Willow Tree

There is a Ghost in your Willow Tree
A.E.
Richmond, Maine

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

She remembers

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

The woman

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!

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