Ghost Road

I travel the road of ghosts.
If you took the motorway you’d be home faster.
I travel the road of ghosts.
It’s such a roundabout way.
What you say is logical;
you are an intelligent man
but still I travel the road of ghosts:
it’s the pull of the umbilical chord.
But really the other way is shorter;
if you turned off here and turned right there
you’d be home in no time.

But I have plenty of time,
besides I’m already home
on the road of ghosts:
that white house on the left we just passed
contains the ghost of my grandmother,
and that building back further was once a church,
the church of Saint Bernadette
where my parents were wed,
and in the house across they lived,
perhaps where I was conceived
on the road of ghosts.
The cross is where the Winking Willie used to wink
into the bedroom of my uncle’s house
(he stuck his bare bum out that window once
at some inquisitive neighbours,
but the Winking Willie caught him in the act
on the road of ghosts).
There’s a turn up above
where my childhood ended
just off the road of ghosts.
Likes stick to like:
I smell their presence converging
on the road of ghosts.
You ask me to take the motorway,
but the motorway has buried
all its ghosts under a tarmac grave.

An English version of Bóthar na dTaibhsí published in Revival, Issue 20, July/Aug/Sept 2011.

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