The trash cans rattle in yard outside my window like Marley’s chains.
A screen door yawns with a squeak so loud someone should be charged for torture.
My night light flickers to vibration of each footstep down the alley.
My landlady tells me people living in the room I just rented sometimes hear ghosts.
An old Polish Jew lived in this flat before I got it, always jerking up at the least sound, as if he was the ghost and not those making the noise outside.
He bore a numbered tattoo on his army and usually drank too much on Weekends, one of the parade of Polish men staggering back to their homes after the bars closed.
My landlady says she could sometimes here hear singing songs in Yiddish as he stitched shoes back together in the small store on the street end of the apartment.
My landlady is convinced the Yiddish tongue is as incomprehensible as Martian. Most of the younger Polish in the neighborhood couldn’t under stand him though old and young no longer shunned him the way some did back in Warsaw before the war.
He claimed to hear ghosts every night, goose-stepping down the alley in perfect military formations, calling to him in German to come out where they could see him better.
He always resisted the ghosts the way he had those Hitler sent, and my landlady reported hearing his shouting that “they” would have to come in and get him.
One day, they apparently did.
A drinking buddy, worried over not seeing him for a day or two, begged my landlady to come in and check.
She found him dead in the bed as if asleep.
I came a few weeks and a paint job later, to warnings from my landlady not to heed the ghosts.
I cannot help but heed them.
Or noticing that one step seems out of sync with the rest, and one voice sings Yiddish folk songs just under my window.