HAUNT / grandmother sings

we laughed at my grandmother’s singing
she was so bad
but we couldn’t escape
we were inside on the pews
the brick wall to our left
and grandma on the right
belting out tunelessly
oh so horribly tuneless
she sang so loud

but the snow outside was piling up
and we had walked to the chapel
i didn’t really want to leave
so it was okay

and you were there
that too
made it okay
okay to bark in laughter
and have the man in front of us
turn and give us the evil eye
of polite anger
which turns out
isn’t so evil after all.

so why years later
do i remember this?
why do memories come
so unbidden
into a newer world
a changed place
where the memories 
die a slow, tuneless

our minds are so good
at seeing the new and novel
the quick movement
out of the corner of the eye
that if we try
can scare us into thinking
that ghosts exist
that someone is watching
that angels hover on our shoulder
that fierce animals crawl underfoot

but when it comes to 
wanting to be rid of cobwebs
then memories
falter and trip along
for years and years
and i can sit
thousands of miles away
thousands of moments past
and hear my grandmother’s voice
tunelessly signing 
christmas carols.

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