When Hecate Comes to Visit

An ornery and unpleasant auntie
she arrives
our relationship stone-in-shoe uncomfortable
I never know how long she’s going to stay
Unwelcome from the moment
she sneaks in
with a key I don’t recall providing
I make small talk
with microscopic movements I hope
approximate normalcy, whatever that is,
praying muscle memory serves
chanting a silent, desperate mantra:
go away go away go away
as she settles in too comfortably
in my favorite chair,
eating me out of house and hope.
“You never come to visit me,”
she accuses,
“so I had to come to you”
and I ponder whether there was a point
where I could’ve ignored the door
and slipped out the back
only to trip over her baggage
or is that mine?
“We need to talk about this,”
she says insistently
as I make myself busy with coffee spoons and
dust motes
aligning coasters at
angles obtuse
the only reckoning I can manage
in dark days and
desolate dreamless
nights that only grow longer
no longer at all certain
I will see the sun again today
I check my watch
and with dim hopes for tomorrow
as well
I protest that I have no room
for her to stay the night
“No matter—I brought it with me,”
she reassures me,
dread tightening my gut
as I go about turning on every light in the house
and I still can’t read
my own book
made indecipherable by shadow
I turn in, helpless,
and wait for the siege to end

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