Something went wrong, says the empty house. I still remember the bright birthday parties in the parlor, the warm holiday meals at the dining room table, the sock mending around the kitchen stove. I remember the mother calling her children in from play. I remember the husband speaking tenderly to his wife.
It was the parson’s fault, whispered the tall grass. Out here on Saturday nights with his long black coat and his poisonous thoughts. The eyes he could not keep to himself. The plastery fingers on his sweat-stained felt hat.
It was too late, grumbled the tire tracks that cut through the amber grass to the front porch. By the time we knew, it was too late. It was already too late.
We could have saved her, the tin chimney top chirped. We could have saved her.
But the empty windows knew better. She was already lost, they chattered. She was already lost before we knew of the parson’s ugly heart.
The open doorway whistled. It’s no good, it said. We can only sit here. Sit here and wait.
She stands in the doorway, ghosted and cold-boned. She stands and waits.