from the collection of: m. fuller

I always bring you into this.

That’s what he told me: “I always bring you into this.”

And, as he spoke those words, I could almost taste the scent of his skin, the soap he used, his deoderant, and the vodka coming off of his tongue.  I wanted to love him.  I know this now.  I wanted to love him.  But he was so far-gone that to embrace him would be to drown myself, to plummet to the bottom, whorls of black ocean moving past my face, then pounding silently into the seaweedy bottom, my lips looking for his, finding only cold stone where I thought there should be body.  And how much good would that do?

I always bring you into this.

And so I walk these days, past the yellow house where no one lives.  Once in a while, the kitchen light will be left on, glowing against the inky night.  But there are never any cars in the driveway and there’s no furniture inside the windows.  It’s empty.  I look at the garage that doesn’t quite match the house itself.  One is fieldstone while the other is wood-sided.  Materials of the land, sure, but both of different origin.  Stone comes from the earth, wood from the forest.  Origins so different, in fact, that entire mythologies separated these realms.  Gnomes protect the stone and all that lay under the dirt.  And the Leshy resides in the forest, he himself taking on shapes and sounds at will, staying just out-of-sight of any human in order to protect the woods.  Fieldstone garage.  Taken from the gnomes.  Wood sided house, taken from the Leshy.  The yellow house and its attendant garage appeared to be haphazardly created, an amalgam of time’s fickle fortunes: a product of years and seasons – some of those years being good ones to pull stone from the grip of the gnomes, other years when the forest seemed a little brighter, years when maybe the Leshy spent more time sleeping beneath the weight of his massive body and less time pulling humans away forever into the shadows.  A house that is so worked-upon, so tended-to has ghosts.  The hands that touched the walls, the stones, the planks, each finger-fall or palm-touch an instance of existence – an instance which will forever linger with the house itself.. 

The wood shared its splinters and the flesh shared its blood.

And so I look at the empty rooms, lit by the pale sky flooding in through wide windowpanes.  And some nights, I’ll see the single bulb glowing or I’ll just see the hulk of the structure crouched black against the midnight blue.  And I wonder and I wonder: who is waiting for me there?  Who is watching as I pass on the road, their lips blue and tired of breathing?  Who is waiting for me to walk up the gravel drive to knock, their hands rigid and empty of the blood that once ran red?

What would my lover have told me?  His lips, too, are most likely cold as stone, lying at the bottom of this tumultuous existence in a tomb that’s cold, quiet, and dark.

I always bring you into this.

One ghost or another.  I pause for a moment because, in the daylight, I’m not in such a hurry.  I pause and look.  And listen.  Only the wind.

But I know you hear this.  And you, with blood still in your veins, are more than a ghost.  And so I will bring you into this again.  And again.