by Paul Skyrm
Along the paved run of Highway 82 where a breathing pump-organ whoosh is heard between needle branches reaching up into the sag of moon so it looks like vein upon the foot or a prostrating Mayan priest cutting out the devils from fetus born without eyes , strange cars pass by streaked twist – children look at strange barns decaying in brown boards peeling back like reeds and the little McElhay girl spots her name written in tan staggered steps on the sloped roof – screeches : "that's my name! Is that my house!" And the fathers will reply : "There's a river behind those houses. You can't tell because the trees are so tall but there's a river runs right behind those windows." Houses tell of the entering rest along this road all lit by flickering windows with candles for eyes, whole families milling about inside known to fleeting minds by the quick covering of flame their shadow thrown upon : a girl changing from jeans to skirt in dark bedroom – dogs bark for meat fried in skillets the mothers block with her hip & fathers scream for harum scarum football runners dodging thick armed tacklers with simple shift of weight and propulsion down the open.
This house you see unlit sits in muted meditation ; lit by the sun in morning and afternoon, darkened by the moon , an absence of breathe this house retains and spindly mice take to the attic rummaging through dust-glazed trunks the moon throws window-shadows making the dense hump of lid a seeming door between worlds the mice believe will finally lend them the tusks they so desperately dream about in whiskered breathing sleep.
Driveway & yard blanketed equal blindness by snow falling in tiny shreds. The only telling of Christmas come is wreaths turning wispy brown on door and coloured lights burnt out spanning windows. Evergreen in living room corner plentiful adorned with plastic Santas, reindeer missing eyes and antlers, tiny toothpick pictureframes of son in third and fourth grade argyles smiling white teeth now gone to dust.
Not a footprint cast in snow.
The moon spread akimbo on chimney-stack.
Black clouds do dim the entire din.
Wanton teenagers carrying bottle & genitals in mind wandering through backyards alongside river seeking cloistered coitals with orgy in mind don't consider the dark windows as invitation – "barn's up the road. We can hide in the loft where all they is." "Aren't there ghosts in old barns?" "There's less there than there are in there…."
Mind finds the finger & points an indiscriminate blink of the darkened house, showing what is inside that hull……
Television burnt out, spoiling food in the refrigerator as if an open-pit of beaten-eyed nakeds decomposing all flung over themselves so arms come out of skulls because the body underneath decays in the sweat of huddled rigor mortis. Telephone rings occasionally and answering machine already filled kicks the voice & want to dust. Dust on the windowsill. Creaks afraid of their own cracking for no patterings or gasps in dark slumber stir candle flames to dance and macabre come the skeletons all one-by-one in love's victory march up the stairs out of the medicine cabinets, spilling from closets and gas cans the garage holds from stove. Skeletons in the furnace vents, skeletons in the silverware drawer, macramé hung plants swing from the skeletons jumping thereupon.
Breathing bone is not welcome here ; dust forms a hacking veil on pillows & shawl. Homeless shadows will come to haunt this dark when the mirrors are turned to the floor. When hollow eyes come upon the hallway mirror, bathroom or bedroom reflection, they know a form will surface out of that darkness & shone the body these ghosts forgot existed , knees will be formed from seeing and falling to their weeps the homeless shadows do beseech a god they've never seen to take them away from eyes. Burning bone, there is still no ghost here – all is clean and well. The Dead of this house needs no longer linger the horror of Cyclops mind, retracing the abyss their heart remembers well. This life- this house was haunted by the living clean – the greasing – tuning – crank of wrench. The bawls & moans in the dark done by voices with names and eyes and throats so raw from praying even Buddha bled from the balls. Neighbors hearing swearings and yelpings feral from the human estranged and distraught - move about come morning with nightmares of what they couldn't see – only hear. And imagine.
The living haunt the living. The dead haunt the dead. Once it's in your mind, it's there for all time. & that haunting is as eternal as the river that runs behind the gutter & window.
There is a reflection cast by the dead who enter this dark that is not their own. They will not come till the mirrors are turned to the floor.
CORPSE MEDITATION is currently searching for a publisher. Look to your conscience, ye ten percenters & timid postgrads of publishing houses.