It was not odd that I saw a ghost.
I see them regularly.
Hear them as well.

It was odd that this ghost
was a Frankish knight
who spoke an inconsistent

mash of middle German and Latin,
whose phrases hung
three steps from the edge of English.

He wandered into the kitchen
and stopped at the espresso machine
mistaking it, I think, for an altar.

On his knees he spoke a most beautiful prayer
that burned with orthodoxy
and filled the room with heavy incense.

Who am I to glimpse his avoidance?
His empty battlefield wandering
in search of the un-given confession before death?

In empathy, I quickly recited scores
of angels and apostles
and, finally, directions to St. Peter’s.

I offered him a string of Mardi Gras beads,
to use as a temporary rosary,
and suffered a torrential flood of Hail Marys.

I walked through St. Peter’s ambulatory
to the radiating chapel
of the Mother of God, glowing in her blue cloak.

The ghost unburdened himself,
then dissipated, the colorful beads
dropped to the polished marble floor.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

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