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During which the witches descend into the haunted house together

by Sam Moe

If you’re fine with the decay, we can be remarkable. I tell you

about the architecture which consumes my mind, and you think

I’m so smooth, how could a house follow someone so far out into

fields where abandoned wells stand, dotting the landscape with dry

patches of grass, the occasional circling of small purple flowers I

used to pluck and tie together in wreaths for my grandfather’s

head, but what about the way the porches wrap and snap until

they connect in one looping square, and their surfaces are coated

in all the toads and frogs from the swamp down the street, the bog

in the backyard, did you know I’m keeping my heart safe for you

if you don’t mind the hauntings then we can head out together

traverse the floors of the ancient and many-floored house with its

beautiful rouge carpets, the mermaids stamped into the foyer, the way

the kitchen has a habit of growing waxy plastic leaves in coils and its

shadow, a second smaller kitchen, is covered in boughs of ivy and empty

pots and pans, beneath lives twisting floors like too-soft bricks, no one

knows where to put their cigarette ashes, I want you to take the glasses

gently from my face and know their designated spot on the nightstand

my heart wants, ragged with haunt, and while you’re at it could you watch

my back as we descend, I think if I reached for your hand I would twist

turn to ash in an instant. And inside these walls which contain the history

of the house itself a thousand endless movements crushed in liminal

spaces where ghost lobsters and demon crabs glow unnatural shades of

amber and azure there is a pasture of velvet, there is a ladder, we ascend

between thin layers of kitchens, stacked as one boiling cake on top of

another and I’m desperate to make it out of the maze alive—with you by

my side—and if you don’t mind the way I scratch at my chest when I can’t

breathe, if you, too, cover all the surfaces during a storm, if you house

ruined horses, if you have soft stars in jars atop your highest cabinets,

and might you also have a beehive with a pool of honey where the bugs

can swim, and did you know there is another four-letter word for love

but it hasn’t been revealed yet, but would you guess I have something

else written on my tongue for you, and could you put away your teeth

to listen, but would you take care to not insult the ghosts who have never

left this place, so I guess we arrive together, intertwined like strands or rope

or hands, we could make it through, you and I, and if we live to see oceans

together, would you know to lead me along where it hurts? Would you

trust the best shells are a little further out, leave your broken shards in the

expertly labeled foyer drawers, then maybe we can make it through just

fine, maybe we’ll drive like darling flames to lick the salt into soup bowls

and stationary holders, well did you know there is a demon holding the core

of this home and every time she hears me laugh she shakes, it only serves to

bump us closer together, my teeth accidentally brushing your earlobe, I’m

going to break your heart if that’s okay, I’m going to stoke your crush into a


Sam Moe is the first-place winner of Invisible City’s Blurred Genres contest in 2022, and the 2021 recipient of an Author Fellowship from Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. Her first chapbook, “Heart Weeds,” is out from Alien Buddha Press and her second chapbook, “Grief Birds,” is forthcoming from Bullshit Lit in April 2023. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram as @SamAnneMoe.


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