Leave the haunted house.

I won’t stop you.

But these ghosts will follow

you out onto the sidewalk,

and into school buses.

You’ll timidly wait for stop lights

to turn green, yellow, red.

You’ll ration out your self-esteem

with glances at the joggers on the crosswalk.

Look both ways when you cross

the street, please.

Stone house. Train tracks behind the gas station

whirl at night, plastic bags with liquor bottles shiver

at forty three degrees fahrenheit. Drug charges

in every house on the street.

Crooked lamp posts and telephone lines

neatly placed on each side of the yellow concrete.

Stone house. I can see my breath, sitting on a yellow couch,

and blowing smoke into and out of the stone chimney.

The mirror nailed into the wall above the fireplace

has my face in it. Blue eyes and little yellow beads for pupils.

Spirits and misty specks of dust are inexplicably knocking over

urns and ash trays on the dining room table. Ceiling fans

are shaking and the dust in rotten cupboards is launched into

the air with green and red and yellow spices, flavoring

the oxygen; breathing in and out, I feel blue like this, I don’t

know what it is. There were times I used to hide my feelings.

There were times when I was in a flying saucer,

handcuffed in an anatomical theater, black bands on my wrists,

feathers on my fingers and on my toes; feathers growing

on my pale cheeks and on my legs and on my head too.

But lately I don’t know what it is about these houses I’ve

been walking into. I ravage pill drawers and medicine

cabinets. I throw fits over coffee cups and cigarettes. I don’t feel quite at home in that cabinet apartment.

The wallpaper is flaking on me, peeling yellow and

gray, maybe I make places that I stay

yellow with age.

In the mud outside the house, fallen over and blacked out.

White shoes stained red with fruit punch vomit.

I woke up the next day with a headache.

I’m sorry I vomited on your lawn, old man.

I walked down the sidewalk, methodically

stepping on each crack. Your foot kind of

caves into the valleys in the gray concrete.

Rain pouring into storm drains,

pigeons and cardinals dangling from

telephone lines. The rain stopped right then.

You said these ghosts would follow me out

onto the sidewalk. I sat on the curb and watched

the stop light turn green, yellow, and red.

Ethan Plate is a sophomore at Lindenwood studying Creative Writing and Philosophy/Religion. He works as a tutor in the writing center, and when he gets some free time, he likes to spend it listening to and playing music and writing poetry. Ethan has liked poetry since his childhood and has been writing it devotedly for the past few years. The poetry he writes is usually religious-themed with a lot of apocalyptic imagery. He has been previously published at Arrow Rock. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: