Michael Sikkema Haunted Passages Poem: “How to Be a Haunted House”

 

1

After the first rain
shove up what’s been
buried in the flowerbeds
The teeth. The toy trucks
The steak knife

2

Use your
face
to bend
the others

3

Bleed brighter

4

Stay in
the sharp part
of the story
until it hurts
right. Find
that small
voice and
stretch it

5

Fog the changes

6

Manifest your walkers
in earlier clothes

7

No neon

8

No fanny packs

9

Look out your windows
with both hands

10

Burn the fresh paint off
as soon as it’s applied
Leave only the first name
the middle no last

11

Embrace the fact that dust
is always singing

12

Set the dogs to barking only
in the smallest hours

13

Wait. Wait
Squeezebox the staircase
Lurch the floor
Tunnel everyone into
the nursery

14

Work the pipes,
the ducts, the chimney

15

Morse code antique door handles
in ¾ time

16

Don’t neglect
the out buildings
the garden
Don’t neglect
the statuary. Brighten
the little drawings

17

Call, recall, you’re all
of it, peak to crawlspace

18

Follow the scars in the floor
for a few more decades
before you fit them to the wheels

19

Control your breath until you
shed your skin in reverse

20

Spiders of course and snakes
but a 4 point buck standing
in the kitchen chewing grass
is even better

21

Say the weakest’s name
when they’re in the shower

22

Say it again later when
they’re getting themselves close

23

Say it more softly as they wander
through you calling
hello hello hello

24

Let the grass in the buck’s mouth
turn to a young child’s hair

25

Do all that
three more times

 

Michael Sikkema is from the Great Lakes region and is the author of Caw Caw Phony, forthcoming from Trembling Pillow Press, 2021.

Image: worthpoint.com

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