Wednesday, January 28, 2004


Look: this is where the ghosts live.

Step over the rusted iron rails and the creosoted ties. Cross the field of cracked cement; thread my way through corroded housings of forgotten machines. People worked here once. Now, under the stars, far from the streetlights, it is quiet.

Only the chittering of panicked ghosts, scrambling away from my footsteps.

Say: don't be afraid, ghosts. I have brought you something.

Sit down on the old split concrete. Open my pack. Take out my offering bowl. The ghosts come, trembling, sniffing, wary.

Pour out water, just a bowlful. More would be useless. The ghosts drink, lapping water with their tiny tongues. Such little ghosts. Even a bowlful is far too much: they can't finish it, though they crowd desperately to the brim, terrified, in death as in life, that there won't be enough.

The rumble of a diesel engine starting, though the sky is still living black, and the stars bright enough to cast shadows. No trace of dawn there. But the ghosts scatter. In moments they are gone.

Pour out the rest of the water, dark on the dusty, pale cement.

Say: I will come again. As long as you are here, I will come.

Can they listen? No one knows.

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