I’ll tell you how to get rid
Of the woman in your closet.
Give her an apple and two hairs,
One white, one black,
And if that doesn’t suffice,
we’ll go a little more grim.
Drag her out by the heels,
And bury her in the garden.
Now the old man in your basement:
His cries keep you awake.
You’ve given dogs, cats, a snake,
He eats them and uses the bones
For his own business, but he doesn’t stop weeping.
Give them an inch, and they’ll take a mile.
Animal blood is too little a sacrifice.
You should have called me sooner.
Quiet your children; they’re safe now.
Wait with your hands over your ears; it won’t take long.
Remember when the things we hated
Needed an invitation to get in? Well, neither do I.
Now everything has a key. You have to admire
Their undying tenacity. It’s easier to take care of it
if you know they’re not human,
using our eyes like a carnival mask.
It rankles something in your belly:
what’s in your belly is old as well.
The body never does what it’s told to,
But we can’t bury ourselves and move on
Until someone else is there do to the mourning.
Laid out like a still god. The body’s refrain:
The bridal veil of your mouth,
The birthing tent of your navel,
The drunken wake of everything else.
Open your eyes. You’ve been asleep
For a few bare decades. It’s time to rise
And haunt someone else’s closet.
Lilianna Meldrum is an English teacher and writer who lives in Amherst, NY with her husband, two children, and cat. Her work centers on speculative fiction, poetry, and memoir, and she has been featured in publications such as Convivium, Image Journal, and Ethel.
Artwork: Brooke Shaden, Fourth Wall