Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

In the haunted room.  §

In the haunted room
where you used to live
nothing much has changed;
white sunlight still brings a glow
to the bedsheets and white furniture;
the carpet is clean;
the air is, too—cleaner than it is elsewhere in the house.
The children play there, now and then,
but not so often as they do in other rooms,
and not quite in the same way;
there is a reverence about the room,
and a fear of it as well,
of its power and of its bitter truth.
You are gone, but your ghost is there,
threatening pain,
passing judgment,
narrating the story
of human mortality and the ends of things.
At times I pause,
as I furtively walk through it,
and imagine it differently—
your things gone,
the furniture and the blue paint changed,
new purposes and new projects there,
filling the room with the vital hum of everyday life.
But then I move on, realizing
that if I drive you out of the haunted room,
leave no place there for your memory to dwell,
you will come out into the open
and be omnipresent,
haunting the entirety of our lives.
And that just wouldn’t do.
Better to keep you imprisoned there,
unjustly,
in the haunted room.