The House of Night
by Theodora Goss
I dreamed that I was walking through the house of night,
shadows behind each pillar, the ceiling above in shadow,
a full moon visible from every window,
the curtains open to darkness, and I was frightened,
because it seemed as though
the darkness came in and followed me, quietly,
on soft paws like a cat, and purring,
rubbed up against me.
I was almost certain the house was haunted
by a ghost, or something worse,
or perhaps was under a curse,
although I could not define
what sent such shivers up my spine
or made the hair on my arms stand on end.
I could not speak in that silence except to utter
under my voice, a small prayer,
so intangible it seemed like nothing,
a puff of air, or smoke that blows nowhere,
like the bodies that ghosts have when they emerge
from the medium’s mouth. Nevertheless, it was answered,
by whom, I’m not certain. The darkness? Myself?
I heard, in my head,
You are the ghost you fear, there is no curse
unless you cast it.
I looked, again, around the room,
at the high windows letting in the light
of the moon, and began,
feeling myself suddenly undaunted,
to haunt it.
(The image is On the Balcony by Childe Hassam.)