I’ve been seeing ghosts lately. Ghosts of people I’ve known and never known. They rise from visions of pure white teeth climbing the mouths of rolling hills, erupting in rows along grassy plains. Teeth, in a mouth that grows bigger with each passing year, teeth more numerous with each generation.
Out of these teeth rise the spirits of men and women, young and old, all colors, races, all religions and origins. These spirits once lived in a sharecropper’s shack in Kentucky, a brownstone in New York, a mobile home in Lancaster, a walk-up in Chicago. They once picked fruit in California, harvested grain in Kansas, mined coal in Virginia, raised cattle in Texas. In more recent years, they babysat a neighbor’s children in Arizona, graduated from a community college in Colorado, clerked in a grocery store in Hawaii, cleaned rooms at a resort in Alaska.
These spirits evaporated from the arms of their mothers and fathers, watched their spouses and children slip away while waving to them across the growing gap of land or water, swallowed their tears of loneliness and grasped onto their fellows as a lifeline of family. [Read more…]