HIS PETER PRINCIPLE
The last ghost town was the one I left
when I grew up—strange requirement
to abscond when one is no longer needed,
like that bare birch tree, shorn of its foliage,
is no longer the sanctuary for that dotard
who left his empty rum bottle under the tree.
Cheek-by-jowl with the porch, it was the Ritz
with free coffee or tea doled out by a host
who talked funny with his metaphors: Hornets.
They, too, create ghost towns of hives on trees.
No point staying when leafless trees no longer
need them, no flowers to touch, no bees to kill.
I have outlived my usefulness, haven’t I? I asked.
She said: Verily. How else respond to this curt
snort, when all I really had or have is only a pack —
not even of beer, nor cheer, not even care? Zero.
Nada. End of the line. Really, all I had was a pack
of worn-out metaphors, lost love, lost coin wallet,
and a wayward heart too needy to want to betray
its anguish, its plea, to come home soon where
there is nothing but a ghost house in a ghost town.
— Albert B. Casuga