It took me years to become this.
To become what? You live in a half-burned-out trailer in the woods. You don’t even have a job or a car anymore. Christ, you’re not safe on your own.
I studied leaves by day and stars by night. In winter I studied the light on snow. On cloudy nights I studied the memory of stars.
If by “studying” you mean drinking that homemade hooch you call moonshine and looking out the window, yeah, I guess you can call that studying. If you had a TV at least you might learn something. This herbal tea you made is really crappy.
I went into myself and out the other side, and I went on.
You mean that bad acid trip or whatever when you spent a month in the county mental hospital? Good thing the state picked up the tab. That shrink, Dr. Chandra? She seemed worried about you. You’re still seeing her, aren’t you? Aren’t you?
I opened a path for others. I lit lamps and placed them along the way.
Yeah, they were really happy about the fire. Lucky for you they decided it wasn’t worth pressing arson charges against someone already in a mental hospital. Too bad the middle school wouldn’t give you back the janitor job.
Here, the door is always open, and the light of the lamps shines through.
I’d keep that door to the burned part shut if I was you; it really stinks in there. I think some kind of animal got in; I can hear ‘em rustling around. Vermin. And I told you a zillion times those kerosene lamps aren’t safe. To say nothing of trying to heat a house trailer with a wood stove. I don’t know why I bother. When are you going to grow up?
Our guests cannot enter without invitation. I greet them at the threshold.
You’re not taking your meds, are you? Nobody comes here except me, and you’re lucky I promised Ma and Pop I’d take care of you. I brought you a bunch of stuff that was on sale ’cause it got freezer-burnt. Come to think of it, I never got you tea, though. Was it left over from before? It wasn’t leaves you picked in the woods, was it? What was in that tea I drank?
Welcome them to our world, sister.
The door is standing open. Whose clawed fingers reach through? It’s getting dark too soon.
© FJ Bergman
F.J. Bergmann writes poetry, speculative fiction, and what falls in between. Appearances manifest at Apex, Asimov’s, Horror Garage, Mythic Delirium, Strange Horizons, and a bunch of regular literary journals that should have known better.