10:4: “On Moving Into Your New Home”, by Brit Mandelo

10:4: “On Moving Into Your New Home”, by Brit Mandelo

If on the first night
her sorrow-sounds wake you
the echo of a cry fading to silence
drawing a chill sweat up your spine
leaving you shaking in your bed–

If on the second night
her sobs tumble you
from your cobwebbed dreams
to the moon-silvered shadows
of a cold room, a lonely hour–

If on the third night
the edge of her keening moan
worms slick into your ear
as you begin to drift off
and pries your eyes wide open–

If on the fourth night
her hitching struggling breaths
seem to brush like cool fingers
down the back of your neck
spreading a fear like ice–

If on the fifth night
her desperate whimpers
cease like they never were
cut off when you turn on the lamp
the sudden light stabbing at your retinas–

If on the sixth night
her begging intrusions
become too awful to bear
and you must stop the noises
before you go ravening mad–

Check the attic up its narrow stair,
the secret spaces and cellar shadows
hunting clues, hunting bones, hunting
for anything at all of her
that could explain the visits.

Or — on the seventh night,
if you came up empty-handed,
light the lamp
and huddle tight,
waiting for her whispers.

Brit Mandelo is a writer and occasional critic whose primary fields of interest are speculative fiction and queer literature, especially when the two coincide. Also, comics. Her work has recently been featured in places like Clarkesworld Magazine (“Linguistics for the World-Builder”) and Tor.com (“Though Smoke Shall Hide the Sun”). She is a Louisville native and lives there with her partner in an apartment that doesn’t have room for all the books. She says:

This poem was one of those pieces that started easily enough — the first two lines popped up in my head, and then I wanted to know what happened next and why. I love haunted-house stories, so it wasn’t a far stretch to explore that territory in verse; there’s just something about disembodied voices and creaky dark places that’s ripe for imagination.

One Response to “10:4: “On Moving Into Your New Home”, by Brit Mandelo”

  1. Helen says:

    Clever and enjoyable, pulls you right in.

Leave a Reply