hall light

when left on too long
the hall light in my parents house
trips the breaker 
& the whole upstairs goes dark.
when i was little,
i was the cause of this
at least once a week. 
my hand reaching up 
to flick the white switch 
at the entrance of the hall.
darkness banished in an instant.
what a long passage
for a young girl. the hall was
'L' shaped & i used to fear
what could lurk 
right around the bend. 
i didn't have a specific monster
in mind, just an empty wondering. 
sometimes my parent's door
would lay open & the shadows
from in there bled
into the bright yellow-walled
passage. their room was 
deep bruise purple.
my room's walls 
were green. not lush
but young. the brightness
of the hall. its brevity.
my father's voice reminding me 
to shut the light off
when i reached the other side.
was my forgetting willfull?
or maybe i believed 
i could leave the glow
just a little longer.
always a second too much.
instant darkness 
& my body in the midst of it.
my father's foot steps 
coming up the stairs behind me
& his reprimands
"what did i tell you what did
i tell you." 
"i'm sorry. i'm sorry."
floor of my room
where i sat & counted
specks in the carpet pattern.
the wires of the house
knotted up with each other
in conspiracy.

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