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Hanging dormant in the center
of a cross hatched ceiling,
hushed morale clung around the fan in the abandoned house.
Years prior, spoken emotions had ricocheted off these
walls cloaked in aging paper,
cracking the eggshell paint behind the peeling patterns.
Rounds of bullets (these words)
met epidermal membranes
piercing volatile hearts and tongues, wrenching both of
Thereafter, the dead heat acrid fumes of gun smoke
clouded the room—smog—
and draped the poor souls in a flat line eternity.
the haze wafted to the ceiling, finding and landing atop the
wooden panels of the fan;
clotted allergens clasped in a thickening refuge:
one month, one year, one decade’s passing ;
incessant accumulation of unanswered questions,
of hateful accusations.
Upon the waning anniversary of one verbose massacre,
a soul surviving palm of arthritic spider veins
tugs at the tarnished, rusting chain,
reviving the antiquated fan of its extended hibernation.
Gears whirled within as the fixture was roused once more,
spinning fast, now faster with extraordinarily blurring speed.
Ashes sank with sullen acquiescence
to the creaky floor boards below.
The veiny palm, reaching for a splintered broom handle,
swept away the residual nightmare out
onto the porch steps across a faded welcome mat,
down onto the cobblestone path, beyond the gated fence
where the chilling winter wind adopted the
solemn cremation of a broken family.