based on a true story 

a house's geometry sometimes invites 
the haunting. all summer my brother & i
watched A Haunting Story, a ghost show
on the SciFi channel. it was summer.
outside everything melted.
we were safe in front of the swamp cooler
where we worshipped cool air.
in this episode a family moves in
to a beautiful new house. everyone 
no matter how old they are, craves
a new house. i thought 
of the houses on laurel avenue in town.
all their clear what walls & their 
light carpets. i had a friend who lived there
& i envied her house's emptiness.
our house was a nest
of clutter & color. in the show,
hauntings start the moment the family arrives.
blood from faucets. a dark figure
in the tall glass windows. 
they don't understand. they are
the first family to own this house.
my childhood home was built
in the 1800s. there is an early sketch of it
framed & laying in the hallway. 
a medium arrives & presses her hands
to the bones of the house.
my brother coves his face.
he tells me he can't watch anymore.
being the older sibling,
i tell him it's just a tv show
& is not real at all. though, we both know
the opening credits always say
"based on a true story." the medium says
sometimes a houses geometry
invites a haunting--the angles 
& edges beg spirits to arrive.
i don't remember how it ends 
but i remember fearing every structure
when i build play houses or when 
i moved my bookshelf even an inch 
to the right. everything felt suddenly
delicate. one wrong alignment
could bring a haunting to our house.
my brother asked me
"what part of the story do you think
was real?" i shook my head
& i told him "probably none of it"
as an act of mercy though at night
i would worry about future homes.
i thanked our house's oldness.
the pipes that cracked their knuckles 
in the night. the sketch in the hall. 
the two old trees in the front yard 
standing like guardians. 
all the haunted houses on laurel street
thankfully, blocks & blocks away. 

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