Ghosts get tangled in the bare branches of the highest trees.
From the ground they look like nothing more than dirty grocery bags, but she knew better.
Long experience, you understand, and training, and a lot of mistakes.
She collected them, the ghosts, climbed the trees to the very top, where the branches are thin.
She’s small and she’s sure-footed as a squirrel, but still it’s a dangerous job.
She’s fallen a score of times, or had a limb snap under her.
Four broken legs, one broken arm, six busted clavicles (clavicle, that’s the collarbone).
“You’re too old to be climbing trees, Deborah,” said her doctor. “Why don’t you behave yourself?”
“Pooh,” said Deb. “What do you know? Thirty-six is hardly ancient.”
“Have it your way. But every time you break something…”
“I know, I know.”
She kept the ghosts in her basement between jars of cherry relish.
They shone at night, when there was a full moon, swirled in the mason jars.
She let them out to feed them, and they flocked around her, tugged at her hands and her hair.
They ate her fears with mouths delicate as water.