Ghost Tree

Near November the vascular branches
sprout these linen buds, the afterthoughts
left from Halloween,
small spirits banded to a tree
like the so many overstuffed handkerchiefs
they were, in the grandparents' pockets
they'd inhabited.

Sturdier than the leaves they've replaced,
and perhaps their poltergeists,
they lean into winds, their stygian profiles
unchanging, silent except for the rustlings
they mimic above starched, dry lawns,
with leaves and Snickers wrappers their shed skins,
and their hauntings now
until they melt into winter.

Bill Dubie