This house has been kept for ghosts.
They live here now, dimly present, unheard.
She thinks she is preserving her childhood
by keeping their furniture, the curtains,
everything just as it was.
She holds up the screen for their shadows
to flicker against, with love.
These ghosts are more than memory.
I almost saw them once or twice
when time slipped sideways, ajar.
I enter the room and feel them,
feel the warmth on the arm of a chair
where his hand leaned just a moment ago.
I know he just left by the opposite door.
There is a slight disturbance in the air
as real as the solid oak table by the window
and the light on the polished floor.
It is winter now.
The house would be cold and damp without them,
though they hang in a fine sea mist by the fire.
At night he climbs the stair ahead of me.
They were always ahead of me, here
long before I came.
We don’t intrude. We live side by side.
When I am gone it will still be so.
I turn out the light and make my way to bed
in the dark
knowing they did the same.