A Visit with Grammy
Jess ran. She couldn’t miss this bus, or Grammy would worry at her late arrival.
She stumbled into the queue as a woman towing a wheeled suitcase pushed past her. Jess swerved to miss it, whacking the woman’s elbow with her own. She stepped out of the way and bumped into the man in front of her.
“Sorry,” Jess muttered.
“Ouch! Who’s there?” asked the woman.
“It wasn’t me,” said the man.
Then, Jess remembered. They couldn’t see or hear her, only feel her ghostly touch. She didn’t need to ride the bus to visit Grammy – she flew.
© 2018 Colleen M. Chesebro
I placed as a winner in Aurora Jean Alexander’s 4th Halloween Poetry Contest in October 2018.
“Samhain’s Song” – Etheree, Double Etheree, Etheree
knowing the truth behind
the festival of Samhain—
where the ancestors arrive home
while we wear costumes to avoid harm
confounding the good souls from the evil.
thins, we see
remnants of long
lost ancestors and
the good neighbors who sing
hauntingly sweet songs of old.
For those who hear the fairies chant
countless men will agonize and wail,
all for the love of those dulcet sweet sounds.
The Samhain sun descends into the realm
of the underworld where death’s dark lord
no longer controlled by the sun,
walks on the earth unfettered.
Spirits of the long dead
saunter forth, searching
for weary souls
as red flames leap—
blessing a new year
for all pagans to keep.
While the sun’s journey across
the skies swallow up the bright light,
The lord of darkness reigns unsurpassed
until Beltane’s soft warmth brings back the sun.
© 2018 Colleen M. Chesebro
The Bus Stop
(The Winning Entry)
In 1971, I was a sergeant in the U. S. Air Force, stationed at Korat Air Force Base, Thailand. The Vietnam War raged around me.
Each morning I took the bus to the base. The voices of my military superiors echoed, reminding me to be careful. Saboteurs were everywhere. The Viet Cong traveled freely between the borders. Last week a sergeant had been stabbed on his way home. I trusted no one.
I strolled into the bus stop like I owned it. Crouched in the shadows, was an old man. He stared at me and our eyes locked. He spoke in Thai, “Sawadi ton chaw.”
My fear erupted. I said defiantly in English, “Fuck you, old man!” I gave him “the finger,” my feeble American attempt to intimidate him. The old man stared at me with razor-sharp eyes.
I worked with Thai civilians and knew they would help me. I explained the incident to a group of my friends. The workers exchanged glances as their eyes creased in laughter, saying, “The old man said good morning to you.”
Now, I understood. I knew if I was to survive I had to learn the language and the customs of the people.
“It is Thai custom to show proper respect for our elders,” they chorused. “When you see the old man again, bow and say the same thing to him that he said to you.”
The next morning at 0500 hours, I set out. I was guarded but kept my wits about me. There in the shadowy recesses of the bus stop, crouched the old man.
I approached him with a smile and bowed, saying, “Sawadi ton chaw.”
The old man regarded me with those sharp eyes I had noticed the day before. In the clearest English I had ever heard, he said, “FUCK YOU,” and gave me the finger!
© 2017 Colleen M. Chesebro