hey siri, is my house haunted or am i haunting my house?

K.N. McDougall

My feet sink into the floor today
right through the carpet-plywood-concrete and into the earth
cool like winter dirt/like abandoned crypts/like a hug from your dead mother
a familiar enough embrace; I don’t run like I should/could/might have two days ago

the loose paste of the floor takes up residence between my toes
curling its lover’s caress closer to my skin than anyone has been for years
I blink up at the ceiling for answers
but apparently ceilings don’t have ‘CLICK HERE FOR ASSISTANCE’ buttons
(go figure)

(You’re gonna make me deal with this
before my coffee, really?)

The peeling paisley wallpaper splits on a wide Cheshire-cat grin
cracking and curling away as my sleep-numb fingers brush against it
stretch up-up-up and let the muck slide into the space I left behind with my heels
strips float down tracing nonsensical patterns through the air in their descent
are they telling me something or am I conjecturing again? (Bad habit, sorry.)

Thin patterns of mold blue-black/green-red/yellow-void
delicate as the prettiest filigree; pixels of code spelling out the zeroes and ones of
danger crust the entire room, each a self-contained javascript program brought on by
the endless taskmaster of corrosion left beyond willful ignorance
I’m so close to becoming part of the installation: staged/set-to-hold-onto-forever

(Please hold, all our operators are busy now we will
take your call in the order it was received. We value your—)

It makes sense, now: the skittering giving way to a gentle lyrical hum
siren’s song of the ones whose feet don’t rest anywhere long enough to grow roots
and so what if I didn’t want to feel so alone? Let it lull me to sleep? Let it keep me?
the trickle of water I thought I was imagining whenever I pressed my ear against the walls
and caught a whiff of something foul/festering/seething/inviting

The musty scent became cloying overnight; sliding down
into my throat to the hollow inside my chest a cough can never quite reach
coating the insides of my bones with a fine dust that should have a warning label on it
I feel full-set-to-burst, baby bit off more than they could chew
can’t spit it out now; choking on the repercussions/grown too attached to try

(Fuck, it’s too late to sell, isn’t it?
hey siri—)

K.N. McDougall is a queer, 23 year old Colorado-based prose and poetry writer. They can often be found pitching story ideas to the rocks and cryptids on hikes. They can otherwise be found on twitter @kaye_herl.