Ann believed in ghosts
And angels and spirits of the departed
I do not 

She told me she saw her mom, her beloved daughter, her protective big brother 
They visited her, reassured her, relayed silent messages and signs
Maybe even haunted her in a gentle, subtle kind of haunting 

She could see them plain as day 
She told me I just wasn’t looking right 

I swear as I was driving down here from Austin, as a Central Freight tractor-trailer passed me 
The silhouette of the driver, intent on navigating his rig safely through the rain and spray
Sure reminded me of someone I knew… that crewcut, those goofy glasses… 
No that couldn’t have been Kenneth Hinze. 

As I crossed the river and glanced over at the Falls on my way here 
I thought I saw the figure of a young man in faded cut-offs   
Diving off the old Ice House wall and disappearing into the foam 
Looked a little like that impish, complicated boy Tracy Wyatt I sat with
hundreds of sunny afternoons on that same wall
Talking about parties, dogs, Sergeant Pepper, or most likely girls. 
I was probably talking about Ann 

And as I detoured over Roger\'s Ridge to drive by the Wyatt’s place up there, 
A feisty little girl with bangs was rolling the family car down the street in the dark so dad wouldn’t hear
She looked just like Cindy Heatley at the wheel of that silent car picking up speed 
Ready to let off the clutch and roar off to pick up girlfriends and cruise Sonic Drive-In
And be a grown-up for a couple wonderful hours

If I get brave enough I may go visit Rogelio’s Cafe
Haven’t been there in way over a year
Rogelio may have forgotten me by now
and order shrimp and mole poblano enchiladas
--They aren\'t on the menu, you have to ask--
And sit with the ghosts of my Mom and Dad 
And wave across the street at Ricky Flores and his mom Minnie 
Rocking with big Flores smiles on the front porch of their tidy white casita
With a couple rosebushes by the steps

Now that I think of it, this town is full ghosts for me
They wave at me from places that aren’t even there anymore
From the Aquarena skyride, from the soda fountain at Wallings,
From Miller’s Drugs and Alex’s Cafe
From old Saint Mary\'s church that burned down so long ago 
And from the front porch of pretty much every house in town
And from the stones in this very place
Not so much a cemetery for me as a village of spirits, so many of them our parents and neighbors and teachers and even our classmates 

Time is a One-Way Street 
And Death is a One-Way Door 

But maybe not for angels and spirits
Angels don’t have overdoses, or heart disease, or ALS, or cancer… Or Hashimotos

Ann, I get it now… you visit me constantly
You haunt me gently, mysteriously, reminding me to carry on or be happy or to love  
You are the flash of neon yellow visiting my bird feeder as a goldfinch
You are the Portland shower blessing Texas this very day
You are the vibrant colors of every Texas wildflower or backyard canna lily 
You focus my eyes on beautiful things like you did the fragile lenses of your cameras

Any day now I expect her materialize and hypnotize me
For that therapy she knew I needed but so assiduously avoided.