Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Two Hauntings

Lesley Wheeler
From Prairie Schooner, Vol. 85, No. 1 (Spring 2011)

It's mostly slag, the geologist says. He squints
at each chunk of my dead grandmother's rock
collection, then up at me to see if my feelings
are hurt. Glass, leftover. He tries the amber
lump with his pocketknife, to see it break,
I guess. Some copper ore, too, and basalt.
Could be from anywhere.
Her motives unclear.

Somebody's with you now. The medium points
at my sister, on a ghost tour with a pack
of college friends. She had just started thinking
of our other grandmother. The memories made her somber:
a family row, some pills not swallowed, a stroke.
She wants you to know that it was an accident.
She misses you all.
My sister phones me in tears.

I miss her too, but I knew her grief. What hurts
is the story lost in the rubble. That vitreous trace.