A construction company clear cut
the woods behind my old house
and sold all the pines for lumber.
For the first time in centuries, shadows
disappeared and light revived the color
in the dull brown pine needles.

I once believed the dark pines were where ghosts lived.
Spirits too shy to haunt someone’s home
or too polite to be a scare lived there.
Now the shadows, once thick and dense
from their collected essence, have been replaced
by the brightness of an empty cul-de-sac.

I imagine that these homeless ghosts are now
lingering in the porches and hardwood floors
of vacation houses on Pontoosuc Lake,
wandering the streets with inaudible footsteps,
or have left us altogether. We never noticed
their presence, so we will never know we miss them.

Donnie Welch, a senior at Emerson College, is pursuing a BFA in Writing, Literature & Publishing, with a minor in History. He has competed nationally, representing Emerson in the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational, has toured nationally with musical duo Welch & Penn, has a book of children’s poetry entitled Who Gave These Flamingos Those Tuxedos, and is currently working on Leaving Dynamite, a theater piece blending poetry and monologue to be directed and produced by Alex Ates of The Shakespearean Jazz Show. Most importantly, though, Welch firmly believes in the healing power of Swedish Fish.

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