ghost tour

a poem by Patrick Kindig

late in life, harriet beecher stowe took to stealing mark twain’s roses. she had dementia. she
would drift into the conservatory, thinking it hers, & the gardeners would let her. by day,
.                                                                                                                                        the
conservatory was a playground for twain’s daughters. they played camelot & steamboat captain
& wedding there, clipping white roses for their bouquets. in 1896,
.                                                                                                  while twain & his wife were
in europe, their eldest daughter, susy, contracted meningitis. hallucinating, she went to bed,
likely in the downstairs guest room. she lost her ability to write
.                                                                                                 & died, a guest in her own
home. on the wallpaper, bees pollinated flowers. on the ceiling, bees struggled against
spiderwebs. in 1974,
.                                the twain house opened to the public. questions were asked. guided tours
were offered. hauntings began to be reported by visitors
.                                                                                          with an interest in hauntings. in the
dining room, the gas lamps flickered. in the conservatory, a single footprint appeared in the dirt.
in february,
.                a woman in a white dress would drift from room to room, sometimes appearing in
the foyer, sometimes the library. such appearances began to raise
.                                                                                                    certain questions. for
example: who was she? & why the library? what was susy thinking when she died among the
bees? who loved the conservatory? who loved the conservatory
.                                                                                                  most? what does a ghost want
but roses in winter?