Places I Have Seen Ghosts

Outside the body of an old woman, scuffling along, hands outstretched to get to the phone in time. I have seen ghosts bruising elementary school windows. Weedy-edged ghosts in pumphouses or near irrigation ditches are mistaken for shadows. I have seen ghosts sneaking cigarettes in storefront doors. I have seen translucent ghosts in the middle of the night, like everyone else. Those ghosts stole my young voice, left me with a huskier one.

My grandmother’s soft underarms embarrassed her, so she stopped wearing pretty sleeveless shirts. Now, when I see a sleeveless shirt I see the ghosts of my grandmother’s soft arms. I make biscotti, iron a handkerchief, water the lawn. The feminine softness of ghosts disconcerts me, just like everyone else. Look backwards at them and what do you see?

Kristina Hakanson is a graduate of Pacific University’s MFA in Writing program. Her work has appeared in Broad Street, Cactus Heart, Canary, and Tinderbox. She lives and teaches in Arizona.