When she said the front yard was haunted
we believed her
because the sky was never blue there
and it seemed on the long drive up
you could see the rocking chairs had
barely visible occupants
only seen by the slightest movements.
So we would not go there
and relegated ourselves always
to the back yard to play,
the freshly plowed dirt in the fields,
and the bales of hay in the barn
where we would sneak away Lewis’s
little bottles of whiskey.
We would avoid the tire swing
beckoning us to come and sit
under the arthritic limbs of the solitary
gallows tree in that front yard.
Only the living had abandoned it –
Instead, we made a playhouse
in the abandoned hog pen
and locked Lewis in the chicken coop
with an angry one-legged rooster -
Always laughing loudly at our own antics
To keep the boogeychild away.