Midnight Appointment - Goddfrey Hammit

After my grandmother died, I was sure that, any night now,
I would be haunted, that I would wake with a start and see,
there at the end of my bed, her, just as she had been

at the little desert pond, when we were both younger,
the memory I kept returning to as she died slow,
just a few feet away – the only time I ever fed bread to ducks.

I spent a week lying there like Ebenezer, waking up from sleep
as if to keep an appointment, though there was no bell tolling
twelve o’clock on the dot, when it was supposed to happen –

I lay watching the clock, waiting, just as I could imagine her,
my grandmother’s ghost waiting around all day for a visit in death,
still adjusting to this new existence, as one adjusts to a new hospital bed.

But, night after night midnight passed, and there was no toll and no ghost
and then it was the morning of her funeral, and my first full night’s sleep
in a while, when I woke early to find the coffee maker turned on,

yesterday’s grounds still caked like dark rain-soaked soil and no water
in the reservoir, just the little blue light glowing and the hot plate
heating an empty carafe and the earthy smell of burned coffee.

I pictured my grandmother, after I had fallen asleep at eleven,
there at the end of my bed, waiting as midnight turned to one,
one turned to two, until, finally, she would be yawning,

and she would decide to put on a pot of coffee to keep alert,
as she used to do those nights I would sleep over;
in life, it had been in bed by eight, her snoring filling the house,

so that she could rise at four a.m., and wander the empty, quiet house,
good practice for a ghost, and I would wake up hours later
to the smell of coffee, just as I did on the day of the funeral,

forgetting, in that hazy state of mind when people often see ghosts,
that I wasn’t ten years old again, and I wouldn’t find her waiting,
ready to go, an old loaf of bread in hand.

Goddfrey Hammit was born and raised in Utah, and lives in Utah still, in a small town outside of Salt Lake City. Hammit has, most recently, contributed work to The Ekphrastic Review, Amethyst Review, and Songs of Eretz Poetry, and is the author of the novel Nimrod, UT. Website: www.goddfreyhammit.com