I cannot sleep
next to you
The porch light
on the other side
of the curtains
tricks me awake
You look frozen on a canvas,
painted in oils by a master,
shadows lightly brush your shape
I study the back of your head
your ear lobe
a quiet beating vein
the hairline along the neck
There’s a frame of freckles
below the shoulder blade
They look like Orion poised
with bow, arrow aimed upward
I am not your Merope taken by blind force
I am Andromeda, wrists wrapped in iron
ready for monsters to decide loves fate
Gods visit the sheets of women
a vacation from eternity
Taste the finite in the kiss,
wipe their mouths with times mist
I will lose you as I lost others
Tonight your constellation glows in porch light,
while I dream of everything I cannot have
Merope [mer-uh-pee] was the daughter of Dionysus’s son Oenopion, king of Chios; Orion fell in love with her, and Oenopion refused to give her up, instead having him blinded. Orion regained his sight and sought vengeance, but was killed by Artemis, or by a scorpion, or by some other means (one of many versions of the story).
One summer, I worked on a Washington island as a housekeeper at a large inn that is playfully haunted by “Maggie”. My encounters with the ghost were so gentle, she is an inspiration for my book scheduled to be released 2015.
The Inn wasn’t very old. You’d expect a few ghosties in ancient buildings, but this fairly new island-craftsman seems the last place for a spirit to haunt. The inn has beautiful contemporary cabin accents, and is set near a lake that mists up in the early summer mornings. Walking around the lodge and grounds the spirit of the place is light and inspiring. It has a magical feel to it, as if hidden from sight wood gnomes and nymphs dance around the ferns, and fairy princes ride dragon flies through the cedar and fir forest.
Red Hair and Footprints
My first encounter with the ghost was in the manifestation of long red hairs. After cleaning a tub or sink, leaving the room and returning with clean towels, a bright red hair would sometimes waved “Hello” at me, all laid back resting on the clean white surface. The third or fourth “Hello”, I started to calculate the odds of how many red-headed guests visited. When I shared my findings with the house manager, she confirmed, it was the ghost.
Anything strange like that was given to the lady ghost’s credit. The staff believes her to be an early pioneer woman, whose spirit wandered into the lodge attracted by the lights and noise. One day we decided to give her a name. We all felt like it was an “M” name, so she was named Maggie. Maggie has a great sense of humor, locking staff and guest out of the rooms, turning on the heat in summer, but her specialty is leaving barefoot footprints on mopped floors.
Maggie’s prints came to visit me one day. Two bare foot marks appeared on either side of the toilet, toes facing out, on my newly mopped floor. When I saw the foot marks, I knew it was the lodge ghost! Just to be sure, I took a stiff brush and cleaner to the area. No success. The marks could not be brushed off. Before the new guests arrived I checked the bathroom floor a last time. The floor now dry, the footprints dissipated properly, as any nice ghost would do. What a lady!
Thank you Maggie, for cleaning up your mess. You’re alright in my book.