It's been several years ago,
When the full moon was bloated
For three nights, it hung low and bright
With a tinge of red on its final aspect
We...the living, cowered in dread.
For ‘twas the time
When the gates of Hell are opened wide
And apparitions roam the earth
With an appetite that can't quench a thirst -
A hunger that ruled them when they were alive.
Ancestors who held no regard for others;
Disrespected in life as in death,
They haunt the living for exaction;
A morsel of hospitality that wasn't afforded
From their deathbed to a proper burial.
So it was on this last night
When the moon shone a sanguine light,
And all was quiet - an unearthly quiet
That not a chirp a cricket made;
The quiet was deafening almost maddeningly so.
A knock, at first, was subtle and faint
Then became forceful in a fitful shake;
That I thought the door might fly off the hinges;
Such was the urgency to this demand
That I was obliged to invite this unwelcome guest in.
I opened the door and stepped back.
He was at least four feet from the threshold mat.
Even at this distance I could only see an outline.
An unearthly voice demanded I invite him in.
To which I stepped aside and he glided as if on air.
He was more of a man than an apparition
If I could call him even that.
For this being was far from human
His appearance was gruesome
A grotesquery of distortions that reeked of consumption.
A wisp of hair barely clung to his head
Eyes sunken above a cheekless crest.
Skin so pale and taut,
Seemed to barely stretch over his skeletal facade
Teeth blackened and broken exposed from lips eroded.
Even more disturbing than his head
Was the precarious state of his neck.
So small was this appendage,
I wondered how it held up by any measure
So frail, his crown could topple off this spindle.
But I would be remiss if I didn't mention his nakedness.
This ghost, whose arms and legs were emaciated and bare,
With buttocks as flat as this table and chair.
But had a protruding belly that looked about to burst,
As it growled with a hunger and a powerful thirst.
He sat down and demanded I fill his plate
Then looked upon me in an accusatory state.
"Do you know me? " he asked in an other-worldly tone
And I admitted that didn't and was rather perplexed.
To this the ghost laughed and laughed.
You're living in this house that I built
As a matter of fact, your dad inherited it
From my brother's estate to whom I bequeathed
With much regret to an ingrate
Who showed me no respect upon my death and grave.
He continued: Oh, I admit, I was no saint
And there were many an enemy I left in my wake
Some business practices that were questionable at best
But I did leave a sizeable inheritance
So, you would think some respect would come my way.
The ghost then looked upon his plate
His avarice fixated upon this fare
He seized upon this food with ravenous abandon
To only gasp and choke from an inability to swallow
He then cursed my grandfather with a bellow.
The ghost then stood up with a frightened alert.
It was time for him to depart.
The gates of hell were beckoning him
For the sanguine moon was becoming dim
And the chains that bind rattled a metallic din.
The ghost then pointed at me with instructions to follow:
When the three moons are full in a row
Besure to leave a plate of food and wine to swallow
Along with a lighted candle at my grave
And I'll be sure to stay away.
Every year, I've done what I was told,
And the hungry ghost doesn't bother me at all.
A compact I'll be sure to keep
And to pass it on to my family
To honor an ancestor is an obligation
No matter how despicable he may have been.