Tania De Rozario Sympathy for the Haunted

1. Ghosts

for Danny Torrance

They can’t hurt you if you don’t let them

into your head: they occupy the rooms

upstairs, pace the suites, unfold histories

in the basement, crawl underneath skins

of memory: were you still a child when

you learned your parents were capable

of despair so dark it drenched every inch

of the house in night? You can hear her

scream as he breaks doors down, wonder

what might stir in your heart, the demons

in his: It can’t just be drink. Sometimes

human places create inhuman monsters.

2. Grief

For Amelia Vanek

Grief sits the basement, feasting on worms, gorging

on the insides of your loss. It grows your garden, feeds

your children its fruit. How many tears must one person

shed before salt corrupts the soil? How many flowers

must bloom from wounds before we start to live again?

3. Bullet

for Carol Peletier

Look at the flowers, Carol, for the new world

may have none. No yellow marigolds, no

white daisies blooming in the sun. Pluck up

courage for tomorrow, there are things worse

than death, and the body's deepest regrets cannot

be counted: You had no choice, so find strength

in the ragged beauty of earth. Like you, nature

knows what it needs to survive, and will

wipe us out entirely, before starting life anew.

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