This old burnt-out shack
was once a kind of guest house
for wandering souls who came to visit
and avail themselves of my hospitality.
Since mind’s comfy props went up in flames,
they now have no place to sit and reminisce,
and so reluctantly they shuffle along
looking for fresh new lodgings,
pale phantoms in search
of a place to rest.
On soft and sultry summer evenings,
relaxing on the ruins of my old front porch,
I sat and watched their aimless streaming parade,
listening for the tell-tale tinkle of wind chimes,
a tapped note timed for each passing ghost.
Now I cannot see nor can I even say myself,
for I have become more like a haunted wind —
a shade or shadow neither seen nor unseen,
spiraling down into the unknown depths
of myself with no safe or sturdy ledge
on which to land at last, to pause
or even gain a futile foothold.
In the fading sunset garden,
a single anonymous ochre leaf
once lit by hopeful morning, slowly
drifting now in darkening descent . . .
Nothing to grasp or turn away,
not even any leaf at last, no dropping dime,
no soulful shine through blood-stained glass,
no tapped note chimed to pass the time –
the music that wafts as I pass by
may leave a poignant tear
in every ghostly eye –
still, I won’t look back.