A GHOSTLY ENCOUNTER

Oh, but they exist in a parallel world—
much like the wall seen from the other
side. Who was that who caught me then

when as a wiggler of a baby on her bed,
I fell to some cushion of air or hands
from the nether world? The herbolario*

(who would brush away the elfin spirits
with herbs and leaves galore to ward
them off and flush the fever off my face)

traced the kind catcher in rice grains
floating in a tea cup of boiled water:
“the ghost of his grandfather saved him.”

A shaman after my heart, he gathered
the granules “into” an egg fresh off
grandmother’s layer basket, and mumbled:

“the spirit is back in his enchanted world,”
then threw the uncracked egg into a banana
grove, profusely intoning a song of gratitude:

“O father, O brother, O Great Spirit, hail,
O hail your coming to save your little boy,
lest he be broken now and gone forever!”

Now at ninety, Mother concludes all my
birthday anecdotes with her discovery of
an unbroken egg pitched into that grove:

On my birthdays now, I ask the walls:
If there were ghosts, would they leave us
guessing if, indeed, there is a life hereafter?

—Albert B. Casuga
08-04-11

*herbolario — an herb Shaman, (also a “witch doctor” to doubters)