A Family Treasure
I was only five when I first heard the ghost
getting water from our backyard well.
The steady rhythm of a muted squeak;
drawing up that old bent metal pail.
The haunting sound went on for years;
it awakened me most every night.
I would listen, afraid to close my eyes,
until came the morning light.
When I grew up and moved away,
I left that old well ghost behind.
I started my new life with the plan
of a good night’s sleep on my mind.
Mama had many lovely things;
she gave some of them to me.
The best thing was her old iron bed,
which was passed down in our family.
My wedding night, I could not wait
to sleep peacefully in my treasured bed.
But, in the middle of lovemaking I heard
an old familiar sound instead.
My husband wondered why I laughed
so hard, until I finally said:
“That ghost, which tortured me for years,
was the squeaking of Mama’s iron bed.”
Shirley Alexander's Other Poems
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