Hauntings of an American Home as Told by a Second-Generation American Girl

Hauntings of an American Home as Told by a Second-Generation American Girl

Kim Salac
Media Staff

Green wraps its arms around four walls
squeezing them tight only allowing
wind’s small squeals to seep through the crevices

walls like lungs as the small flame
grows in the window
                                 a house stands alone.

(Her time is now) One girl six wishes in
floats through the gaping mouth of the garage
wearing a dress in the shade of dust.
Passing a father sitting in a plastic chair
and a toothpick stuck between his teeth.
The steel nails in the old fridge wait for collision
and his baskets hung next to straw hats.
In the middle of the floor sits a salvaged school desk
marked by an unfinished name carved out carefully,
a green chair, and something sticky.

The kitchen ticks under the pressure of a
thin red line bouncing from 2 to 1 and 1 to 2.
A mother chops up garden limbs and garden parts
into stars and rectangles to the beat of hearts.
“Por dinner there will be alphabet soap.”
The ingredients are (the will to stay) and
(conformation) cooked in a broth
that would wash away a mother’s tongue
leaving a sour taste in her children’s mouth.

A boy plays the piano softly in a room of blue
while his father listens to the seraphic tone
of a key out of tune. And they do this again
like a tape tangled up and stuck.
Across the room a mirror stares back at the girl
spelling out the X of her arms crossed over her chest.
How she would hold herself before her first communion.
(How she holds herself when she doesn’t remember
the words to Our Father

In the bedroom next door
Mother Mary sits above a dresser in a wooden frame
full of grace. The mother is kneeling
with elbows resting on her side of the bed.
Rosary in hand she counts her tenth
(now and at the hour of our death) Amen.
A clock chimes 7 and then begins the second mystery.

The girl comes home again.
Time marks the walls as the pineapple wallpaper peels.
as bananas and persimmons rot and the legato comes to a rest.
As nails rust in the fridge and the ground finds mother’s feet.