Haunting House

I wanted to write about that summer.
The one where men from Exalt The Lord construction came
and ripped up our countertops,
stripped the floors to the bone,
gnawed the flesh out of our house, wolves with a carcass.

I wanted to write about that summer
when my father took all his books, and his shitty handmade furniture,
and no one could decide who the Vitamix really belonged to.

The summer where everything sounded like radio static,
and HGTV reruns,
and I ripped the smoke alarm off my wall
instead of changing the batteries.

I wanted to write about drinking three Everclears at the bar
and texting “Dad, I’m sorry.”
I thought I could write about
how alcohol made me apologize for things I didn’t do,
how I learned exactly how long it takes for a cigarette to burn,
what sawdust smells like when you mix it with ending.

It took them months to rebuild our house,
and I wanted to write about how much it hurt
when they pulled off the drywall where he measured my height
every year, or more, because I was turning out tall like him.
How my father asked if he could keep it, put it in a frame for me,
and how I still won’t hang it up
because it belongs to someone else’s life.

I couldn’t write about that summer.
Not until the dust was swept away,
and a new family wrote on every wall of the house,
and my mom quit smoking for the third time.

I couldn’t write in that shattered place
where they cut out everything growing,
and left a corpse.
Left a house that haunted me.

Louise Platter is a poet from Athens, Georgia. She is working towards a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management at the University of Georgia. Her work is inspired by confessional poets, the natural world, and her undergraduate studies in literature and philosophy.

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