the lawn / Is pressed by unseen feet, and ghosts return /
Gently at twilight, gently go at dawn.
—T.S. Eliot, “To Walter de la Mare”
My father died in our living room.
Every time the AC kicks on,
that damn dog barks at the
electrical click. Makes me want
to strangle him. When I was small,
I sat in front of the vents, blanketing
myself in the chill, and wondered if
Freon cannisters held ectoplasmic mist—in
my mind I saw logic in this business model,
carried a P.K.E. meter in one hand and
the future I hoped to have in the other.
I told my mother I was sure I’d seen a ghost.
She told me, “Fuck off!
We all have our problems to deal with.”
My father said
nothing; he wasn’t even there.
My voice liquified; I’d gone away with him.
And the world swirled us down
into a toilet bowl.
The retinas in my face
nuke the neurons through the cave
on my shoulders, crawl down
my throat and out my bladder until
I’m turned stone. I’m stuck cold.
I have no pulse. I’m zombic and
glassed-over, hearing the echo
of frost-breath swirling through
the air—the ghosts behind my eyes
A wish for mother (let the ghosts that leech on to your chest free):
Her vanity filled with doubloons—plastic
purples, reflective reds, swigless cyans—each
month to materially hold like Zen garden pebbles
that we scoop and let sift through the cracks of our
palms—in the way one peek-a-boos a child. Carry on now.
Stack stones like rolls of Standing Liberty coins.
Hang triangles around your wrists—close one eye
to focus forward past the jovial faces and those
itching urges you’ve battled and beaten throughout
Time’s bursting waves.
In conversation with my mother and sister
(the living room is bruised midnight-black
and cracking a laugh at us—
we hold dancing candles and huddle together
in our collective oranged sweat):
“I think this house is alive. I think it wants us dead.”
The neighbors notice
a blackhole eating
the house with one big bite, a statue
of me being shredded inside it.
I’m shuddering in bed. Everything
purrs. The salt of my forehead
rides the body zigzag as firing synapses
grunt in my legs. I’m a sack filled with
liquor and attitude. A finger makes
love to my throat. I must be half
alive, half in lust. A globe of glass
surrounds me—your face is bulbous
and infernal, yet you proceed. The house
jumps up and down from its cornerstones.
The windows awaken like fire and fall
like shuteye. Bang. Bang. Bang. In time,
and with much effort, you hook the
monster in my belly and slump its
body to the floor, soft as a newborn deer.
Dom Fonce is an undergrad English major at Youngstown State University. His poetry has been published in, or is forthcoming in, Junto Magazine, The Tishman Review,3Elements Literary Review, Obra/Artifact, COG, Blacklist Journal, Ohio’s Best Emerging Poets: An Anthology, West Texas Literary Review, GNU Journal, Fourth and Sycamore, Great Lakes Review, and elsewhere. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.