Ghost Story

by Kayla Rae Candrilli

Margaret, with the longest blonde
hair in Wyoming county, took
over 30 stabs with a buck knife—
her body swallowing the blade
again and again. Her jealous man
wrapped her in a burlap sack, stuffed
her under the little bridge where I sip
my first beer and swing my feet.

The boy who tells the story and cracked
my beer wants my fear to curl me
into his shoulder—his skinny arm
to protect me from her cold
ectoplasm. I don’t believe this story—
that she will appear next to me, shaking
her head before throwing it in her hands.


The only high school class that finds
funding to amusement parks is physics—
centripetal or centrifugal, I’ll never
remember. But I’ll remember standing
in line for the biggest coaster, I’ll remember
my only conversation with Jeffery Wilbur,
the one where he told me his great
uncle pulled Margaret’s moldered body
from under that bridge, how her once
young hair had grayed in darkness.


I am ten when my mother stops
the car on the bridge, rolls down
the window and asks what the fuck
is going on here?
The boy looks
17 or 18, and the girl cowering
at his feet looks even younger because
she’s on the ground—her head
in her hands, her hands on her knees.
Now, when I think of this moment,
she looks as if in prayer to Mecca—
blonde hair run ragged down her back.

The boy says nothing, nothing
going on here.
She looks to the car’s
back seat, where, despite tinted
windows, she finds my eyes—
hers, just deep black hollows.


I don’t believe in ghosts
that trail their spirits in wisps
of white light, I say. I drink my beer
and shake off the boy’s arm.
I fear knives the way some people
fear ghosts. And I’ve seen a ghost
on this bridge, I say, but she
was solid like you and me.

Kayla Rae Candrilli received a Bachelors and Masters in Creative Writing from Penn State University and is a current MFA candidate at the University of Alabama. Candrilli was awarded first place in Vela Magazine‘s non-fiction contest for women and is published or forthcoming in the Chattahoochee Review, Dogwood, Gravel, and Driftwood Press. You can read more of their work here and here.