I come from a place where people don’t believe in ghosts but they do believe in finishing your chores so perhaps you’re gonna think I shouldn’t have been surprised to find the specter of my mother standing at my sink one night, scrubbing the stock pot I left there to soak and forget. My mother had been dead four months and didn’t turn when I entered the kitchen but merely remarked, in her usual mild way, that I ought to have scraped it down when the pot was still hot if I insisted on scalding things the way I did. I never really had the patience to let things simmer. I say nothing to her except Yes, Mama, and then I stood there in the kitchen doorway and watched her like she was a stranger’s CleanTok video. She didn’t seem very surprised to be back from the dead or in my kitchen, for that matter. When the pot was clean and dried with a fresh dishtowel from the drawer and returned to its home on the pantry shelf, when the sink itself has been drained and wiped clean, my mother disappears. I think it might be a Benadryl hallucination but three weeks ago I got distracted by the dog in the middle of sweeping acorns and crispy brown leaves and my neighbor’s cigarette butts off the front porch and then that night there she was again, my mom, holding my broom in her ghosty fingers that looked just a bit more purple than they used to. It’s just so good to see her and to hear her tell me that I really ought to get to power-washing the front stoop that when the next morning comes and my porch is still clean I sort of stop doing the chores altogether. Do you remember the feeling of being seven and going to bed on a chilly November night and pressing a blanket to your nose that smells of nothing, perfect zero, because the scent it surely has of home and detergent and your mother’s hands is baked so deep in your olfactory memory that you couldn’t smell it if you tried? You remember getting up in the morning before school and the sweater with the big snag in the elbow from where you caught it on the swingset has been repaired, darned with a little green thread by shoemaking elves in the night and washed and folded and left for you on your breakfast chair, awaiting your embrace? In the end, do we only remember our mothers for the things they did for us, the way they disappeared? Anyways, I really am a pretty neat person but that’s the reason my house is a little bit of a mess right now, why I haven’t washed yesterday’s dishes or lint-rolled the dog hair off the sofa or wiped the toothpaste splatter off the bathroom mirror. Can I come over to your place like eightish?