A poem by torrin a. greathouse

wind-chime aria [for four hands]

 

my mother has always loved wind-chimes / something in the music
preceding the storm / i swear some summers they started singing
long before the streets were ransacked / by evening breeze like a warning

see, my mother used to say that this house was haunted / & by this
she meant the day we moved in / my father disappeared into the mouth
of a bottle like lungs emptying / & glass teaching them song or

he became wind or light bulbs / began bursting on their own
becoming a confetti of blades / across the kitchen floor the way
the fracturing light held every room / a burning photograph

poltergeist translates to noisy ghost / so it’s no wonder we never slept
made gardens from the violets beneath our eyes / woke up with bruises
we didn’t remember / anything but the rattling sound in the walls / &

the way bottles seemed to empty / on their own / my muscles still turn
to sand at the top of basement stairs / remember cold cement & flight
how my father pressed me / like a flower / against the wall

how he scraped the polish from my nails / like old paint peeling
how he held my hands & told me / that Mozart’s father taught him
to play / by breaking / his fingers each time a note fell wrong

i still find myself searching / for ghosts in the melody / floating over
a banquet hall of teeth / daydreaming of bending my fingers back
until they snap like rotten boards / of the porch gutting itself

i could still cry from the sound / of a wind-chime / waltzing
with noisy ghosts / on the breeze / am still afraid to paint my nails
to feel my father’s hands / cement cold & acres wide

my mother says that this body is haunted / & by this she means / i buried
the boy / my father beat / behind the barn / or became wind or woman
or i run my hands through silk curtains / plumed like drowning lungs &
mistake them / for my own skin

 

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