I bought for my mother,
A marmalade treat,
To have with her breakfast
On toast for to eat,
But next morning
She never got up from her bed;
From her pillow,
She did not raise up her tired head,
So she never again will taste
Thick-cut orange spread,
That she so used to love
On her golden-grilled bread,
But forever, the memory of her
Will not fade,
When I spread my toast with
Her orange marmalade.

Kathleen Mortensen @ 2016


A spirited conversation

Photo borrowed from Flickr

If you’re just encountering this story for the first time, please see these posts first:

A Down-East Tale

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The Soul Mate

By Kathleen Mortensen © 2008

Chapter Three

“I’m sorry, Alice,” the voice answered slowly, with a slight lilt, “I only wanted to feel a human being once more.” She sounded terribly sad, “It’s been such a long time since I’ve touched anyone. I’d almost forgotten what it feels like.”

I tried to take this all in. Here I was in the middle of a graveyard, talking to a ghost! “I must be dreaming,” I thought to myself and pinched my arm through my sweater to make sure. “Ouch!” I whispered sharply and then I knew it was all happening, for real.

“How do you know my name?” I was full of questions now for this bodiless voice. “Are you Eleanor?” I demanded. “Are you the person buried here?”

“Aye. That’s me,” she answered. “But it was a long time ago now.”

”How do you know my name?” I asked her again. I was going to get to the bottom of this.

“Your mother told me, Alice,” she replied. “She sent me to you. That’s why I’m here.” I felt the cold wet hand touch my face again, as if to console me. “She knows you need a friend like me.”

I pulled away. My mind was racing. My mother had sent this spirit to be my friend? How could this be happening? I had so many things rushing through my head all at once: How was my mother? Why didn’t she come to me herself? How did she find Eleanor? I needed answers to so many questions.

I settled in against the tombstone. “This is going to take some time,” I thought to myself. I might as well get comfortable.

Pulling my legs up to my chest, I slid the skirt of my dress down over my knees to keep them warm. I closed my eyes and suddenly I had a puzzling thought; what if the pinch I had felt had been part of the dream? I offered up a quick prayer to make sure:

“Dear Lord, please let this be only a dream,” I breathed. “Please let me open my eyes and find everything is normal.” I reconsidered my position, “Or if it is Your will for me to communicate with ghosts, give me the strength to cope. Amen.”

Slowly, I opened my eyes and looked around at the graves. Nothing seemed amiss. I was totally alone. I must just have taken a turn. There was no ghost, no spirit lingered beside me.

Somewhat disappointed, I whistled through my teeth and started to get up to head home. Grabbing the strap of my satchel with one hand, I grasped the top of the headstone with the other, for balance, when the voice came again,

“Must you leave so soon?” it intoned.

I stood stock still.

Kathleen Mortensen ©2008

(Come back on Friday for further developments in the story.)

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Carefree high-way

This piece came about as the result of two observations at two entirely different times. The first half took place early last Winter some time before Christmas. I was stopping in at Starbuck’s for a tea and a relaxing, enjoyable spell of just sipping and thinking. I had my laptop and was a bit disappointed to find out that I couldn’t connect to the internet, so instead, I took the opportunity to clean up some of my files and take some notes. When a gang of young girls wandered in, the atmosphere was filled with laughter and chatter. I made note of it in poetry.
Just this past week, I was in my living room, tidying up some old cassette tapes(!) and happened to look out the front window, where I noticed 5 young girls sitting Indian-style on the trampoline in the backyard. The house is on a corner lot and the yard is wide open except for a low hedge.
I saw right away that the girls were passing something around and I could see the clouds of smoke emanating from their device. I was like the proverbial curtain-twitchers behind their net curtains, spying on the youngsters and shaking my head. Actually, I was mesmerized, but in a way, I was also envious of their youth and naivete. Today, I have added them to the first observation and it all seems to fit. Let me know what you think.

Giggly Girls

Giggly girls, sit down in the sun
Of Starbucks store windows; they’re having their fun,
Laughing and joking at everyone–
The toddler a-running, their honeybuns, sweet,
Coffee they’re quaffing, the new girl they greet,
Party they’re planning, his phone call last night;
The giggly girls are filled with delight.

Ponytails jiggling, as sugar-rush hits;
Those giggly, jiggly girls are in fits;
Laughing at nothing, grinning with glee;
I watch and recall when the giggler was me.

Giggly girls on the trampoline,
Since Mommy’s not home, it’s just not a good scene,
Passing and sucking their pipe of glass, clean–
They’re out in the open, at height of the day,
Bouncing and jumping, like children at play,
Choking and smoking and grinning with glee;
The giggly girls, so young and so free.

Pleated skirts lifting, as wind blows them high,
Those giggly, jiggly girls reach the sky.
Laughing at nothing, grinning with glee;
I watch, but cannot crush the mother in me.

Kathleen Mortensen ©2008