The Great Aunt

by Edward Miller


My second cousin once removed once asked my mother

Where do ghosts come from


They come from shame and family secrets

They come from an acre where the untold fertilizes a storied garden


My young cuz had a follow-up question

Does this house have a ghost


None that you can ever see

None that will ever harm you

But long ago your Great Aunt was believed to be touched

and so was taken to a special hospital that was like a prison

The high-handed doctors were electrified by untruths

And all the nurses were stoked by bitterness save one saved by laughter

Yet the magnet between Auntie and her Nurse was blocked by innuendo and reproach

Some say that their shadows pogo together in the abandoned asylum

But on holidays Auntie comes here to be reunited with her family

The more we remember the more she forgives


And what does the ghost of Auntie say

And how will I know she is there


Though Auntie’s specter is speechless

Whenever your laugh sounds like another’s

Whenever you sing a silly song over and over

Whenever you spin around and around to embrace your own dizziness

Know that she is pleased to be beside you

For the feeling of your own strangeness has become a music

And she is whirling to its rhythm

Edward D. Miller's poetry appears in Counterexample Poetics, Hinchas de Poesia, Wilderness House Literary Journal, The Boston Literary Magazine, Crack the Spine, Red Fez, Drunk Monkeys, Bloodstone Review, Handsy, and The Bangalore Review. He writes a column for Coldnoon: Travel Poetics.

Edward teaches media studies, film, and performance at the City University of New York.


February 2019

© 2020 by The Esthetic Apostle