A Visit From Marion

It was on a Sunday
in the year of my puberty
that Marion showed up.

For the first time in my wee life
I had a room of my own
and that was where she chose
to alight – if that is what ghosts do.
I can’t say “appear” because
I never actually saw her.
No smokey shadows, mauve chiffon,
No whacky reflections in the window.
Nothing. She never saw me either –
at least not until that chilly autumn
having died while Nola was pregnant.

The three of us were in the living room
when she called my name – loudly
and with authority – quite distinctly
My mother heard it too
but my father – who was her son –
was too deep in the News of The Week in Review
or perhaps – it occurs to me now –
too terrified to acknowledge what he’d heard.

I got up and walked inside
neither apprehensive
nor intimidated, more curious than
cautious. Seeing nothing, I stepped
slowly into the center of the room
and simply stood there.

I just wanted to see how you turned out
she said, so I turned slowly full circle
hoping to oblige. She wasn’t visible, no,
but I could feel her nosing around me
silent and unhurried as a cat.
I think we both smiled and when I felt
the interview had ended
I went back into the living room.

What did she want, Nola asked.
Oh, nothing, I said
and went back to doing the crossword.




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