Path of the Dead
The path of a ghost is etched into the earth, hammered and chiseled by heeled boots, flat leather soles, and the barest of feet. I follow the prints up and over the rise. There is a man standing by the car, smartly dressed in black pants, an unblemished white shirt, and the same black tie strangling every salesman’s throat across the country. He looks up at me, shielding his eyes against the sun. “You want a ride?” he asks. “I’m going to the store to get a loaf of bread. I can take you that far.”
For a moment, I can see the details of the man’s face and I think I’ve gone crazy. Like he’s crazy. I snatch the end of the man’s tie and choke my own throat, jerking this way and that way until I know the truth. The man is me, minutes before my car drives off the road and down the side of the mountain. When I glance up at the house, my wife rocks in the ratty wicker chair on the front porch. My son plays with the wooden car I bought him for Christmas last year. Do they see me here, waving before I go? “I’ll be right back,” I call out. But the wind carries my words.
I’ll see them again. After the accident. After I climb out of the ravine and trace my footsteps back up to my house…again and again in an endless parade along the path of a ghost.
This image and more of Carmen’s photographic prints and merch are available for purchase at Fine Art America.