Haunted Gettysburg

by Brian Fanelli

The Dobbin House menu declares:
as seen on BBC, History Channel, Ghost Hunters.
Our tour guide jokes,
A few years ago, they closed Baltimore Street,
fogged up the place, sent a TV crew
with Ghostbuster’s gear, dubbed Gettysburg
most haunted town in America.
The real story unfolds within bullet-marked brick,
where a Confederate sharpshooter perched
near an attic window, shot civilian Jennie Wade.
A few on tour drift towards the building,
close their eyes, touch the pockmarked facade,
as though to hear pops of gunfire and sniff out
whiffs of powder and tobacco.
Down the street, a lantern-lit ghost tour passes,
the host's face painted skeleton white,
fake blood smeared around his mouth.
Another gimmick, our guide says.
He then asks how we're haunted, confesses
he's an ex-NY firefighter who inhaled
dust and ash after 9/11, smelled the rot
of flesh like those Gettysburg civilians.
He turns to us, tells us to re-walk
Pickett's Charge, where grass bows to October winds.
He tells us to hold our spouse's hand,
imagine the roar of cannons, the cries of men,
their blood seeping into soil,
their stories lingering over this town
like mist hanging over the battlefield.
    


Brian Fanelli's most recent poetry collection is Waiting for the Dead to Speak (NYQ Books), winner of the 2017 Devil's Kitchen Prize. He is also the author of the collection All That Remains (Unbound Content) and the chapbook Front Man (Big Table Publishing). His writing has been published in The Los Angeles Times, World Literature Today, The Paterson Literary Review, Main Street Rag, and elsewhere. He also co-edited the anthology Down the Dog Hole: 11 Poets on Northeast Pennsylvania (Nightshade Press). He has an M.F.A. from Wilkes University and a Ph.D. from SUNY Binghamton University. He is an assistant professor of English at Lackawanna College.