so I let it in. It didn’t wail nor rattle chains
nor hoard boos within its throat.
Its clothes were form-fitting,
& it was fond of toast but had an aversion to jelly,
explaining it was on a diet. We spent hours
watching sports together,
mostly hurling & archery,
& when I turned on a scary movie, it fled the room.
Our conversations were wide-ranged but boring,
never broaching subjects
such as death, as I feared
I might easily offend it. I never asked for its name
but sensed I was privileged & considered it a friend.
I felt I was one step away
from entering the loony bin;
but my friend had it worse, its two feet in the grave.
After a while, I discovered its name was Harold
& that it—he—was fond of my dog.
To rehearse my own death,
I shadowed his movements, taking cues
from how he reacted to everyday happenings;
but after several weeks,
I realised he wasn’t a ghost:
He was a person as lonely as I’d been but not as gullible.
Then, one day, he left me with my solitary thoughts
& took my dog along with him.