*performed at Stanford Spoken Word Collective’s 2021 Fall Show

On a cereal box shaking Sunday morning, 
can’t shake the feeling that I was a different woman last night.
The shape of things had shifted in twilight, 
now trying to flood my room with fire,
get this bloodthirsty day out of sight. 

There’s a cursed doll by my nightstand
and a little dead boy in the mirror. 
I think I brought this upon myself.
Ghost stories have always been my favorite part of sleepovers
and I’m not sure I ever outgrew them.

Through the noise of 2+1 Black Friday sales
and Spotify Wrapped and adulthood
and NFTs and Bad Men On The News 
I still hear the apparitions calling to me,
beckoning me back into the imprint of my bed
where I spent a year and a half scaring myself,
I like to scare myself because it’s exciting,
I like to scare myself because it’s better than whatever’s out there.

I still watch horror movies through the gaps between my fingers.
I don’t know what to do with this—
this wanting to see, wanting to not see,
wanting to be, wanting to not be—
I was told that ghosts who laugh are most malicious,
and maybe that’s why I question my joy. 

Ghost stories have always been my favorite part of sleepovers;
the gore, the myth, the precedent.
There’s a world in which the piano plays by itself
and that’s the only one I’d like to kiss. 
When I wake from that world,
/ ing myself into indigo oblivion,
pale and dry-lipped and ready to crack 
open like a star meeting its end,
there is no relief.

If I draw the curtains I’ll see the sun
and I don’t want this story to end.
I don’t want to know that this is it.
But it is.
This is it, and it doesn’t get better. 
You can’t perform an exorcism when you are both
the cursed object and the curse. 

Ghost stories have always been my favorite part of life.
The thing is, they are never over.
The death of something will cling to the house eternally haunted,
and like a handprint on the wrong side of the window,
it will cling to you.