Rate this poem:(0.00 / 0 votes)

Bush House, a Salem Tale

The older docent glares at me
as she sees me enter, coke classic, in hand
If my other hand did not hold a ticket,
I’m sure she would refuse me.
She directs me to pour the liquid out, stipulating
the house is a museum
full of heirlooms of another age.
We compromise,
my thirst left in the étagère in the hall;
this is how I spend my Mothers Day,
listening for old houses to whisper to me,
tell me their stories and memories.
Today I'm listening to Asahel's and indeed,
the lean efficient docent tells his tale,
and that of Estelle, of Asahel the Third,
of doting Sally …

“The docent won’t speak of me,” whispers the girl
standing in the sitting room

“She’ll show you my room
boast of its sink and marble fireplace.
Just as in any room, talk of the quilt,
the empty dresses on display;
I’m not an heirloom she tell.

I didn’t live here, you see,
not until I was fifty-three.
I dreamed of here, my loved ones
encased within its walls
And papa ... busy papa, sad papa.
Sally brought me home too late
I missed him. Still do”

The group moved on into the Study,
and the girl shadowed behind.
As they peered at old photographs, she
tinkered with the thermostat on the wall -
too focused on it for me to know it is her concern
“There’s a genealogy chart in the next room …
I missed it. I missed them all.”

As the group filed out dutifully - like children
under the charge of a stern governess
or patients under the custody
a burly orderly -
Eugenia noiselessly stood there in the doorway,
sizing me up as if for eternity
“You know what I mean, kindred spirit.
You will, too. If you’re sent to Boston,
I’ll share the house with you.”

And with a decided nod, she stepped to the side,
“Let’s walk together, shall we?
It’s nice not to be alone;
I’m so glad it’s tour day
She usually ends by playing a tube on the organ,
If we’ll lucky, Sally sometimes visits then.”

About this poem

Published in Write The Town 2016. Mid-Valley Poets Society.2016. A ghost story about Bush House, Salem Oregon

Font size:

Written on May 08, 2016

Submitted by Ariel on September 19, 2021

1:48 min read


Ariel is a full-time Pacific Northwest poet, often participating at Oregon Open Mics events. She has been published in Gold Man Review, AIM, The Widow’s Handbook, and most recently in Terra Incognita, On The Platform Waiting and Free From Monsters. Ariel often collaborates in many Willamette Valley poetry/art projects and is a member of Oregon Poetry Association, Mid-Valley Poets Association, Willamette Writers and Poet. Her website is poetariel.net. more…

All Ariel poems | Ariel Books

FAVORITE (0 fans)

Discuss this Ariel poem with the community:



    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:


    "Bush House, a Salem Tale" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 22 Jan. 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/109940/bush-house%2C-a-salem-tale>.

    Become a member!

    Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

    January 2022

    Poetry Contest

    Enter our monthly contest for the chance to win cash prizes and gain recognition for your talent.
    85 entries submitted — 65 remaining

    Browse Poetry.com


    Are you a poetry master?

    The haiku is originally from ______.
    • A. Indonesia
    • B. China
    • C. Ireland
    • D. Japan