Mom Saw a Snake Ghost Once, Too

A small rustling sound. Flipped the bathroom light on. A little snake, grey, a pale ribbed belly, small and fearful. Trying to crawl into a shadow by the bathtub. Head lolling back with the struggle; strange contorting, suffering in the dust on the floor, unable to hide. I caught it, thought: Go now, ghost. Flew home for months. At Mom’s, holding my hand against Dad’s forehead, to see if he was gone. How warm?

Back now, back now at my apartment. Opening the door softly. A dark shape on the threshold. The snake is back. Ah, the ghosts are everywhere.

Virginia Lee Wood is a Korean American writer who holds a Doctorate in Creative Writing from the University of North Texas, and an MFA from Hollins University. Her work appears most recently in The Southern Review, Hobart, PANK, Pleiades, and elsewhere. She is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at West Chester University. Twitter: @TheWoodJung.