The Haunted Mill in Dundee, Michigan

One sunny November Sunday, as I was driving back from a weekend with friends, I made the spontaneous decision to stop at a historical park on my route. Specifically, I was looking for the site of a battle from the War of 1812 on the River Raisin. I didn’t find the battleground (or at least I didn’t find a historical marker), but I did find a former mill and manufacturing plant-turned-museum which, to my delight, was open. I was the only patron, so the lone employee delightedly showed me around and gave me bits of the local lore, down to pointing out the name of one of her ex-husband’s ancestors on a property document. The building, it turned out, was haunted and was featured on some ghost hunting TV show several times; there was a Potawatomi woman who liked to friendly-haunt one of the ghost hunters, and a mill worker who died during its construction who rattled the pipes and tried to chase people away. Eventually the mill was purchased by Ford and used to make machine parts in WWII; it may be that it’s haunted by the ghosts of those killed using parts from the machines as well.

The day’s Poem a Day prompt was “apology.” I came home and wrote this down.

The Haunted Mill in Dundee, Michigan

Originally written November 4, 2018. #105.

“It’s haunted,” the mill volunteer told me,
By spirits of those who lived here before:
Mill workers, and the Potawatomi.

In a rare fit of spontaneity,
I parked the car and opened the old door.
“It’s haunted,” the mill volunteer told me.

Three stories of a storied history;
A thousand years of River Raisin’s lore.
Mill workers, and the Potawatomi.

After a mill, a small car factory
Where they made parts for Ford, and for the war:
“It’s haunted,” the mill volunteer told me.

To build it, a whole people had to flee:
We loved the land. The people we abhorred.
Mill workers, and the Potawatomi.

There are no words. There’s no apology.
Only a grief for people here no more.
“It’s haunted,” the mill volunteer told me.
Mill workers, and the Potawatomi.

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