This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Daughters by Brittney Corrigan, released by Airlie Press in 2021.
Ghost Hunters’ Daughter
Don’t ask me if it’s true, if they exist. I’m not sure how to tell you what it’s like in the shadows of each house, the other hum beneath the appliance hum, the way the walls lean in at me, the vibration everywhere I put my feet. Mostly I like to stand still, listen to the clicks and knocks as my father adjusts the knobs, holds the padded headphones tightly to his ears. I watch my mother sway with her eyes fluttered shut, her fingers gathering the air. My father sees in green, sifts through the static, rounds corners with his lens, his metered tools. He walks right into cellars, basements, attics, untouched rooms, his eyes on the pull of the needle, the digital rise and fall. Right past as I inhabit doorways, press through the paneling and lathe. Sometimes I blow a kiss to my mother, send it out as a cool, spectral puff across the hallway to her ashen cheek. Or reach my lucent fingers up to pull at the hem of her blouse, encircle her legs with my body as she balances in the dark. They are always looking for the others: the ones who throw spoons or creak floorboards, nudge faucets or upend chairs. The ones who lift children from knotted bedclothes, whisper in sonar-ping echoes, frighten by putting on their fiendish skins. My parents bottle and banish, exorcise and incant. Smudge and cleanse and burn and cast away. I hide in far corners, latch onto the screens of windows, so they won’t send me over, too. I want to stay where the electric air surrounds us. Where the light doesn’t flicker and call.
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