Tip of the Quill: A Journal
30|09:08 The Hotel Ghost

The hotel ghost wanders from floor to floor,
Rustling starched sheets, rattling loose windowpanes,
Scaring the bejeebus out of an occasional tourist,
But she gets no joy from this.
A man who saw her claims she’s a lost woman,
A murdered prostitute or a forbidden abortion gone wrong;
Another declares with absolute certainty
She’s the specter of a wife who took her own life here
After following her wayward husband to some illicit tryst,
but neither of these wishful dramatists come close.
A woman who saw her one alarming June night strikes nearer,
She guesses the phantom is an innkeeper herself,
A former owner dissatisfied with the current corporation,
But even this isn’t quite right.
In fact, it’s only one young girl who nails it,
Solves the mystery of the lady in black,
And only because she’s the only one to hear as well as see,
To catch the faintest strain of the ghost’s frail singsong rhythms,
Humming softly to herself an old cheerful Cuban folk melody,
As she keeps on performing the same routines
That brought her such comfort after she fled her mournful life,
Changing soiled sheets and
Cleaning smudged windows
Of the fingerprints from a million curious wandering children
Pressing their noses against the glass to gaze at the sea,
As her own once did,
And asking their madres what lay on the other side.