From the Inside Out: a Poem

Inspired by the prompt of “an abandoned house on a prairie”

I am an abandoned house on a prairie.
My doors are sealed shut &
wild grasses grow around me.
A thicket of trees looms, heavy & imperial.
My floorboards creak as ghosts tread cautiously
(They think they are quiet, but I hear the whispers.)
My windows are streaked with dust
(chalked with dirt and grime).

Children do not play on the swing set;
in fact, the metal is rusting,
but when you listen to the wind,
you can hear their laughter
(like a woman whose stomach is barren
stirs at the cries of an unborn child).

It is so easy to watch a house decay
if you never called it home.
It is simple to watch the mold invade
and fungus to spread like fingers.

(You walked away while I was still speaking
and my voice got swallowed.
Tasted like the rust of house keys
and ancient bottle caps.)

No one visits or knocks upon the door.
The planks of wood that comprise the porch
are rotting.
One false step & you could be a forgotten tale

We’re all abandoned houses on the inside,
corridors left unexplored and diaries
with locks still intact.
Undamaged in some ways – pristine, in fact.
(But if you peer closely,
we’re all rotting from the inside out.)

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