by Victoria Nations

There are ghosts in the groves picking
oranges that fall through the net sacks and
bounce onto the ground.
The oranges are too bright to be
anything but real. They look alive.

The ghosts flit about, preoccupied by the work.
They don’t notice the oranges
laying about, rotten on the ground,
now lost to the living
who could taste them.

The ghosts in the groves let vines crawl up
and wrap around tree branches,
and cover the leaves.
The orange trees struggle for light, but
The ghosts
never cut them down even though
the trees are strangled.


It’s past due when the orange groves should have been picked here in Florida.  The abandoned groves drop their heavy fruit.  Or maybe the ghosts don’t notice their sacks won’t hold them anymore.

The abandoned groves are haunting and full of memories.  You can read “There Are Ghosts in the Groves (I)” here.

Check out #SpookyAllYear for links to creepy stories and blog posts.  And click on the graphic for spooky goodness by The Midnight Society.


The Haunted Shed – 24 Days Until Halloween

My parents passed away last year, and my family and I are getting things cleaned up to sell their home.

There have been lots of creepy surprises along the way. The jack-o-lantern door mat and classic horror movie DVD’s were warm reminders of my dad and his love of spooky stuff. The bags of bones were probably from an art project of his. The old plastic doll, missing an eye, her head turned around, and mysteriously standing in the middle of the workshop was weird, but not in a bad way.

But my family didn’t like the haunted shed.

The shed probably wasn’t really haunted.  Sure, it was filled with some odd things.

Medical equipment is not inherently scary, and old wheelchairs and walkers shouldn’t be surprising in a home where elderly people passed their last days. But my parents never used this equipment.

The dust and cobwebs were simply what collects in an outbuilding under the trees. They were lovely, in their way, draped on the walls and hanging from the ceiling. There was rusted scaffolding in there, and tools. A hammer with the hand-built handle. A pitchfork. Multiple machetes. It had a dirt floor, so of course something had burrowed up into the old squirrel cage and built a nest. The aesthetic was right up my alley. Dim and claustrophobic. Creaking. Dilapidated.

My family said it felt bad in there.

The haunted shed was recently cleared out by professional trash haulers.  Everything was pulled out and stacked on trailers, mundane in the light of the day.

But I like to wonder, will hauling all that away expel everything that was moving in there?

Horse – A Poem Poised To Run

by Victoria Nations

Smooth planes of muscle and bone
grown over with layers of
detritus, lichen and grime
in the corners
until they touch one another
crusting the surface
which lies
smooth planes of muscle and bone
and skin
shiny with sweat
wetting the living things who
and cover the
smooth planes of muscle and bone
rolling beneath
hard but for
a rolling eye
wild in its socket
tangled in the
detritus, lichen and grime
smothering the
smooth planes of muscle and bone


by Victoria Nations

The girl smiled at me from the wall, and even before I saw that her mouth was stitched closed, she was in my arms. She was doll-like, with a sweet, open smile and black button eyes. A burgundy bouffant made her skin seem all the more pale. Her scars were barely noticeable.

Her mouth had been shut for her, and here the stitches were real, made from thick, black thread.

An artist named Chicho had written a love letter on the back of her canvas, naming her Frankenerin. He had drawn a heart and written, “Don’t remove the smile.”

The thrift store clerk rang me up, glancing between Erin and me. She slipped a bag over the painting and laid her face down.

“Better you than me, sugar.”

Erin moved to our new house, but she never selected a room and stayed in the garage instead. She oversaw house repairs and weekend chores, always smiling her encouragement.

I couldn’t remove her stitches. I mean, it looked like I could – it was just tape and thread. But I didn’t. Maybe Chicho had spoken metaphorically, and maybe he hadn’t.  Who am I to doubt what he knew?

ErinI didn’t want anything to happen to that smile.

After a year, it was time for Erin to live somewhere else, somewhere she would want to move inside and settle on a wall that suited her. I propped her up on a bright red chair at the yard sale.

Erin didn’t sell at the sale.

And I had to move her off the chair before someone would buy it. They said they would move her, but they just kept standing there looking nonplussed until I did it.

Erin left in the backseat of a friend’s car.  My friend promised she knew a good home for her, though it definitely won’t be with her. Erin sat staring out the side window as my friend drove away.  She seemed delighted to be traveling again.

Abandoned House – A Love Poem

by Victoria Nations

Abandoned house with
Sun bleached board face
Drooping and gapped from
Years and years of rain and heat
Crinkled so it
Cracks, so its
Filmed windows tilt
Up at the corners
Gabled window
Turned up and
Still cute after all these years
Mostly centered over the
Black double doors
Falling into a
Sideways grin

Ghost Stories Lurking in Doorways

Sometimes stories lurk behind things.

I went to a festival the other night, and we cut through a side street of old storefronts with dusty windows.  There was raw red brick and arched doorways with iron gates.  There were lights from the parade just a block over, but the side street was almost too dark to photograph.

The street was inviting, stopping me on my way to run my hands over the walls and peer into doorways.  There was a sense that crossing those thresholds would take mLeesburg door 4e to another time, to when the town was young.  But even if the windows were clean then and the thresholds swept, I don’t think the street was ever pristine.  That side street has stories of what happens just off Main Street.  If I stood in a doorway and looked out, it could show it to me.  Maybe that’s why the gate was there, keeping wayward visitors out.

A photograph from that night shows eyes shining from the doorway.  Or perhaps they are reflections.  That must be it.