That Rhyme We Told as Children

(For D for the idea)

If I admit to you that there will always be at least twelve seconds taken from every day because I think of you then what exactly am I admitting to?

And what of buildings abandoned? Of places let to go dark?

He told me to write about something haunted. I saw you in the shadows once. Running around corners and dust shook from your clothes. He told me to imagine the corners of rooms and what might be waiting for shadows to come back to them. He told me that where there were faucets running there would also be lights flickering and my face in the mirror would never be the same one I thought I should see staring back at me.

If I say that the last time I saw you I tried to count the beats of your heart and lost track and somewhere in that losing I just lost everything?

And what of those stone stairwells and basements and stalls with locked doors but no one inside? Of sound echoing back to you but not the words you spoke aloud?

He told me to think of stars falling and how they must have felt scared at first and then delighted by the sudden cold. He told me that wishes were like ghosts and if you didn’t believe in them then they couldn’t come true. It hurts to think about the way I thought you were starlight slipping through the window.  There are rooms in houses with no windows and the light still gets in. It hides in corners and waits for the creaking of doors, for the faucet running, for the tap tap tap.

If I tell you the truth but only in a language of the extinct will you hear it? A language spoke underwater, at the bottom of wells, inside of mirrors?

And what of the corners where there is no place to sleep? Of those rooms where no one ever comes out or goes in but you can hear the rooms breathing?

He said to think of things that scared me. The ghosts I kept as children. Don’t we all keep them? Those ones we expect in every dimly lit bathroom with the mirror that flickers? The ones we know in our closets and under our bed? The ones who like to tell us stories we can’t hear because we don’t speak in the tongues of the dead but still we hear them somehow when we sleep and dream of mazes and forests and planets made empty? Finally I remember the prompt. He said to write about something haunted. So I wrote about you.

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