Dad told us an invisible hand
moved the matchbox car across the shelf
in the spare bedroom he used as an office.
He told us
he had ordered the owner of the hand
“Get the fuck out!”
But, neither the hand nor its owner listened.
So, we passed the small room at the head of the hall
in the dark of night
boys small in size, yet big in imagination,
making sure our eyes focused straight ahead
on the dark mirror at the hall’s end
reflecting fear back at us
intensifying it ,
faces pale, eyes halloween-wide
matching an agonized and contorted face
that might be glaring from just within the door’s frame,
or that the invisible hand’s icy touch would brush our faces,
reaching out from the eternal confines
of this small room
within our modest ranch style home,
in the middle of a lifeless suburb.
Then one day it was decided that we two brothers
who had only ever shared space with each other
should each have a room to call his own
so, the bunk beds were divided,
your Snoopy posters
taken from the wall,
clothes removed from the closet and the chest of drawers,
toys boxed and all of it moved next door
into the ghost room.
It was only many years later that I thought of this,
of spending night after night
trying to find some peace in slumber
in the eternal prison
of a lost soul
since we are quick to forget what we ourselves have not suffered,
especially as children.
It is no wonder you are you.
I recall listening to the battles being fought
within the ghost room on a daily basis,
Crashing and screams, battle cries
And death tremors.
You emerged to tell me of places you had been
fantastic and super real,
gore too vivid for my mind,
and beauty we were too young to understand
Looking into that cell I saw
your prized posters torn from the wall,
the quilt made of the remnants of
corduroy, denim, old sheets and
whatever mom could use,
in shreds among headless green plastic soldiers
and an upended cereal bowl,
milk still dripping like blood.
And I, the older brother, scoffed at your
adventures as only the jealous can.
You now spent the moments
before sleep with this specter,
wondering and playing word games
as we had once done.
But, its words were far more old and learned than mine.
So you grew quick and aware
of the real ghouls that occupy this plane,
while I stayed behind in a world of universal movie monsters