My 1930s bungalow is haunted by the ghosts
of a dozen sweet, grandmotherly old bitties
too stubborn to part with the worldly possessions
I’ve salvaged from the husks of their homes.
Mrs. Cook lives in a teal box above my stove
full of her collected clipped and typed recipes:
Mum’s Prized Gingerbread
Mary’s Pudding Sauce
Kirkland’s Potato Casserole
She smiles in the scrawls of loopy, cursive
addendums penned at the bottom, reading:
An hour in the oven is far too long!
Check cookies after forty minutes.
Great Aunt M. lives in the plaid couch --
yes, in the cushions, which I wrestle
from their tight, soiled slips -- but fear not!
She cannot be scrubbed out with chemical cleaner
nor scorched out with sunlight
nor carried out in the fresh breeze.
Mrs. Barrington lingers in details, nooks,
in the subtle secrets of a place one only gleams
with time and watchful silence. She rides
in with morning through stained glass windows
and leaves late at night with the faint sigh
of the last subway train.