Oookay. Page 172 of the paperback version of The Virgin Suicides. I found her a tragic figure, so I wrote a poem.
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Karafilis on a Train to Istanbul


Every two years, this T.V. special
draws old Mrs. Karafilis upstairs,
propelled by past lives and
the grey defiance of gravity.
Mrs. Karafilis, who talks to ghosts
but does not realize that
she herself is a ghost,
a harmless entity living in the basement
with the white fingerprint
of past lives and the white noise
of life upstairs.

It is a wonder that the rope
tied around her waist
can actually keep her upright,
can lend its gnarled strength
to her bi-yearly journey back
to the few green hills that hold her heart,
the few seconds of ghostly joy
that make her human again.

We could never see her
in the darkness she demanded of us:
"close the light, dolly mou."
And we did, still squinting
to find her form amongst the dust
and white fingerprinted postcards.
Mrs. Karafilis has a misshapen history -
one that ends each year with
the annual funeral parlor fan
that lasts only until the next arrives.

She is a ghost every year
when Train to Istanbul plays
and the T.V. upstairs is white noise no more
in those two seconds when
green fills her vision, her history,
an neither funeral parlor fans
nor the white fingerprints matter,
because she is home.
Two entities: one a ghost in suburbia
and the other rollicking
somewhere between Greece and Istanbul,
battle yearly, and this is
why she is such a misshapen ghost.

"Close the light, dolly mou."
So we do, for two years at a time.



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Oookay.