Tax Breaks for Weird Ghosts

H. A. Eugene

H. A. Eugene

My aunt ran a shelter for ghosts
all kinds: shades, spooks, specters
seekers seeking hauntable hideaways
ever homecoming, never home.

Like that invisible lady who hated clocks
or that gentleman with the head
the twins
or that cat that froze, like a picture
but would disappear if you blinked.

Mind you, some weren't very ghostly at all
more like people with a little extra
or a little less.

Like that serious guy with the duffel bag
I always meant to ask which bus stop he was headed to
and what he was gonna do when he got there.
(What was in that bag?)

Or that woman, forever applying lipstick
vanity mirror, all rouge and scowl
skin stretched tight over old wounds.
(What did she wish for?)

But most of all, I wanted to ask my aunt
why bother
with this temporary home for permanent memories?

But I know my aunt
she'd probably mumble something about family
life experience or second chances
even though the truth was simpler

it was all for the deductions.

H. A. Eugene is a Pushcart-nominated writer based in Brooklyn, New York. Find him at or on Twitter @haeugene.
"Tax Breaks for Weird Ghosts" is in Short Circuit #11, Short Édition's quarterly review.
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