Moms Old Haunted House.

i spend the day

holed up in my bedroom,

eating red vines,

watching Netflix documentaries,

hiding out like a fugitive.

my old tabby cat wanders

in and out as she likes.

everything up here

is the same as i left it.

blue and white  striped wallpaper,

the cheerful yellow rug,

the fluffy gray duvet on the bed,

the artwork from a friend

hanging over my desk,

right next to the bulletin board

that holds a photo of him.

even my hair brush i left behind

still sits on the dresser.

as if waiting for me to come

crawling all the way back here

with a head full of knots.

it’s the photo i keep catching

myself looking at.

as though there is some kind of

karmic magnet attached to

the back of it drawing my attention

from across the room.

i haul myself off the bed.

i pull the photo to examine

it more closely.

it was taken at the party

the summer of senior year,

back when we were dating.

us sitting sprawled out

on that ratty old couch

in the middle of that field.

his arm hooked tightly around my waist.

he is smiling at me.

i actually never noticed that

until after everything happened.

just holding the stupid photo

feels like pressing on a bruise.

he’s not home for the summer.

i know this from

creeping onto his facebook page.

he’s doing volunteer work,

clearing brush,

fighting forest fires.

there is no chance of

bumping into him.

i slap the photo facedown

and climb back under the covers.

when i was a kid

living up here

made me feel like a princess,

tucked in the third-floor turret

of moms old haunted house.

all this time later,

it makes me feel

-trapped

in a magical tower

with no place in the world to go.

i dig the last red vine

out of the package.

my cat hops back up onto

the pillow beside me.

i lie there,

under the duvet for awhile,

waiting to see if my thoughts

on him will pass.

the sun spills yellow

through the window.

the air smells cool.

nope.

he is still lingering

in the shadows of my mind.

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