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She put the house up
For sale

I saw my past life
Flashing before my eyes

The kitchen
Where I made dinner
And that day I made more naan
Than we could eat, but I did it
Without my shirt on

The kitchen
Where she left me notes by the coffee pot
The coffee pot that kept me going on the hardest days

The kitchen
Where I hung that ee cummings poem somewhere I have never travelled gladly beyond

But she replaced it

Twice

The kitchen
Where she screamed at me
That time I had an accident
And melted

The kitchen
where I finally yelled
“I deserve to be with someone who wants to support me emotionally”

The living room
Where she threw that candle at me
And broke my foot

The living room
Where the television
Still holds my face print from when we hung it, and I almost dropped it

The living room
Where I spent days painting
But on the last day made her help
And I didn’t wear any pants

The living room
Where the couch we bought is 
falling apart from the time she fucked that other girl there and the lotion
The lotion ate away the faux leather

The dining room
With the chairs I hand sanded and painted
It took me a week
And cost me a pair of shoes

The dining room
Where I painted the built in cabinets with the wrong color because she didn’t help me that time

The dining room
Where we hardly ever ate

The spare bedroom
She told her parents was my room

And when I made it my office
She complained at the mess I work through

The spare bedroom
Where I painted alone
Again because she refused to help

The spare bedroom

The spare bedroom

And her bedroom
She painted again
The second time I left

She painted again on the day she demanded I come get my stuff

And her bedroom
Where she called the other side of the bed the pssenger side

And her bedroom
That she shared with me
And her and her and her and her

And her bedroom
Where she choked me in the closet

And her bedroom

And the front porch
Where I watched the rain
And read my books

The front porch
Smoking cigarettes

The back yard
Where I read books to her

The back yard
That she refused to fence in

The back yard

That caved in

The back yard
And the driveway
We resealed together
Pulling weeds and filling cracks

She put the house up
For sale
I walked through it one more time

And cried

And closed the door

Without slamming it

Without leaving a key
this time

I guess it’s haunted

I guess it’s time

The Haunting

You are asking for my attention,
But I have none left to give you.
I have sought the expert advice of my
Therapist,
Mother,
And trusted friends;
They all say the same thing.
She is looking for validation
or approval.

But you do not know me
And I do not know you.

My paranoia tells me,
You are trying to become me.
Stealing me from myself.

My friends tell me to be flattered.
I’m not flattered,
I am scared.
Threatened.

Lately, I have been noticing things.
There are things in this house,
That are not mine.
Evidence of a life
Present before I arrived

Nobody talks about it
Or seems to notice.
I do not ask questions,
For fear of sounding delusional.

Children, they see ghosts,
Or in my case, feel their presence.
I have always been able to understand
The energy of others much better than my own.

Adults, they justify and rationalize
The shadows and echoes
So that they can maintain a feeling of safety and control.

But I know that ghosts cannot hurt us.
They can only cause us to harm ourselves.
Because the living will always be more powerful
Than the dead.

The dead that linger,
Are simply searching
For a fulfillment they could
Not actualize in their life.

Grief, regret, shame, and hurt keep them bound to the earth once their bodies have ceased.

I cannot free myself while continuing to acknowledge you.

You only exist as long as I believe in you and that you belong here.
You do not belong here.

I have seen you throw things right in front of me.
I have watched you move things out of their proper place.

There was a picture that used to be on our bedside table.
It is in the bottom dresser drawer, now
And I did not put it there.

But you cannot be real.
To be real, and present in this house, I
Must have seen you.
But never,
Just a lurking shadow
In the corner of my life

I have heard your cries in the night.
The ephemeral words
You push into the world.

And for the last two years
I have allowed you to take my energy,
And you have. Willingly,
You have absorbed the essence of me.

All the little pieces that define me.
The broken edges and dusty remnants.
My dreams and hopes and fears.

The idea of being someone else is often
More romantic than being in our own shadowy existence.

Life itself is larger.
My life is larger.

tonight, I will sit in the candle light and hold a séance.
I am asking for your forgiveness
I am asking for your reprieve
I am asking that you leave me alone.

I will fill the house with the burning sage smoke.
A final farewell to you who does not belong here.

the haunted must eliminate the haunting.

So, when the dog barks at your shadows,
I will know that I have done all I could.
May you rest in peace;
remember who you are
Forget about me,
Forget about her,
Forget about the life you imagined you could have
In this house.

Because ghosts can shower, but never be clean; eat breakfast, but never again taste love; sit next to us on our couches,but the goosebumps they give us are the chill from the energy they are taking, Never giving. They lie
next to us in bed, occupying empty spaces that remain,
attaching themselves to people
Who might hear them,
Or are susceptible to giving them energy; eventually, the living get tired.

Tonight
We will all sleep.
Us, in our warm bed.
And you, in your grave.