I died and I tried haunting Massachusetts.
Had I died inexplicably, bizarrely?
I begged their pardon: No. Had I not lived
in a Gothic homestead, never trod the stairs
of turrets? I tried haunting Massachusetts.

I died and I applied in my best suit.
Ahem, they didn’t even cough. They made
that sound: ahem. Did I not have a costume?
Was my love doomed, was she a chambermaid,
an heiress? I roamed all of Massachusetts

in search of work. Was I accused unjustly
in a witch-trial? Or justly? They sat forward,
interested. Er, no. Car-accident.
They sat back. But I died in Massachusetts.
They nodded, they could see my application.

And in what areas of Massachusetts
would I be sighted if I did indeed
return? I reeled off various dear suburbs,
a seafood restaurant, a Barnes and Noble;
Fenway. In that suit? Somebody sniggered.

I died and I do not haunt Massachusetts.
You haven’t seen me. I was ushered out
politely. I was told of openings
in Illinois. I headed for South Station,
not a care in the world. Nobody stopped me.

 


Glyn Maxwell

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 21 Number 8
Copyright © 2017 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com
https://newcriterion.com/issues/2003/4/ghost-out-of-work