there’s the time angela’s

body was seen as a ghost;

the living breathing toddler in one room,

quite another haunting

top of grandma’s stairs.

 

there’s the shillelagh,

having fallen in such a way

to defy

childish notions of physical understanding,

parroting for decades your uncle’s tricks

by remembering plastic pink flashlight to mandible nightcries,

and your aunt’s kitchen faucet

sink upstairs

refusing all repair.

 

visiting the great-aunt’s convent once,

more holy water to temple touches;

knees pink with navy synthetic embossing,

burgundy leather beneath ties to ritual creaking;

the prayers and the scent 

of processed body

of christ

the grape juice will transform if you pray for it strongly

and mean it more than you wished evil into playground pagan crossings.

 

the christmas tree stays up too long now that grandma’s dead

the plush carpeting under the ornate rug

hides the secret fake snow threads

you’ve pushed under

in gazing out south shore

hexagonal windows

blocked by hopes of more magic

in july

paisley upholstered chairs never felt more livable

than when you're returned

to mom's city apartment late sunday nights

 

the ashtray with the metal button on the marble

lazy susan, kitchen table, near large window, grandpa's here;

this seems like the most simple way to keep down complaints,

push it down to the bottom, emptied later in the trash bin

please let this be the ritual to keep everyone

soft and transparent alive.