mum visited last night
with dad
both dead
both standing staring from the bottom of the bed
(which was weird
because they wouldn’t have done that
even when I was a kid
does being dead give you
special visiting rights somehow?)

I said
quickly sitting up
taking a trembly swig
from my water cup

they stood side by side
eyes wide
linked at the elbow
which as these things go
was pretty freaky
resonating unspeakably
with an old wedding photo
they used to have on show
on the mantelpiece
dad in a two piece
mum in skirt and lippy
lurching outta church about 1950

mum cleared her throat
(which is odd for a ghost)
in that unmistakable way she’d got
after years of drinking coffee too hot

‘I just wanted to drop by and say hello’
she said
‘being dead
means you can’t just ring for a chat
and I’m feeling a little bit cross about that
I miss our gossip about dogs
and the odd
patients you’d met
and whether you have or haven’t finished that book yet…’

Dad looked restless
like a punter unexpectedly on the guest list
and not sure what to say
whether to stand or just fly away
I got the feeling she was stealing his thunder
(a cliche you hear a lot and no wonder)

‘Anyway – can’t stay long
Just wanted to drop by and see how you were getting on
We’ll be back again soon to see you, Jim…’

(Which is why I ended up googling ‘exorcism’)

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