Losing Ghosts

by Sven Heuchert

We sat on a bench at the pond drinking
Serious drinking
It wasn’t about becoming intoxicated
It was about not feeling lonely
We used to start by talking about the old days
but the more we drank, the more we
got to the point that was inevitable.

I’m tired, he said.
He opened another can of beer
I could hear him swallow
I’m tired, he repeated.
We sat there until dusk.

Ducks swam across the pond
The smell of jackpine from the woods
Something was different about the way he held his beer
and drank his liquor, so precise and determined

Later in the cabin he stood in the dark
He looked out of the small window beneath the fridge
We’re all made of stardust. Did you know that?
No, I said.
I was drunk but aware of his words.
He shook his head and lay down on the bed.

I woke up in the middle of the night
I had dreamed about someone chasing me
I didn’t move
I let my eyes adjust to the dark
The air thick and stale
My throat was dry
It was hard to breath
I heard him mumble in his sleep
I got up and drank water from the tap
It tasted like rusty nails
Wind swept through the beams
His mumbling sounded like a mad prayer
I listened for a while then went back to sleep

When I woke up in the morning
I still had that taste on my lips
It reminded my of my father’s workshop
Of quiet summer evenings
and warm grass under my naked feet
I could hear the creek in the distance
A constant whisper
I checked on him
His blanket lay tattered on the mattress
I opened the cabin door and felt
the cold air coming in
It had snowed that night
And at first it looked like tracks from a deer
the footprints lead away from the cabin
I put on my shoes without socks





Thanks to M.A. Littler