Buying an Old House

The ghost in the upstairs hall
is the least of our worries.

We worry that dampness in the basement
may encourage black mold.

We worry about the furnace because of its age,
the plumbing, the electrical,

the drafty windows
we can’t afford to replace,

the water heater, the broken
bathroom tiles, dry rot we cannot see.

We worry about a patch of plaster with water marks,
but not about the ghost in the upstairs hall.

We worry about the spongy feel
of the front steps,

some missing shingles on the roof,
the sagging gutters and plugged downspouts,

the crooked garage door,
the septic tank and the well.

We worry about the size of the mortgage payment,
the winter taxes, the summer taxes

and what it’s going to cost to heat,
but not about the ghost in the upstairs hall.

Having grown up in rural Michigan, David Jibson now lives in Ann Arbor where he is a co-editor of Third Wednesday, a literary arts journal and a member of The Crazy Wisdom Poetry Circle. He is retired from a long career in social work, most recently with a hospice agency.

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