lar

"the local god of a house" 

upon my mantel 
sits a creature with black eyes and thin hands 
her body spindly and wrapped in patterned shreds
forgotten knickknacks dangling from each sleeve like rusty baubles

she blinks, once, twice, 
real slow

she is our household god. 

she hangs over our heads as we all try and fail to sleep 
bodies turning in identical restlessness in each bed 
different rooms same fatigue

her fingers brushing soft and forgiving over our foreheads 
my mother used to soak washcloths in cold water 
lay them over our heads when we were hot with fever

sometimes 
i do it for myself 
late at night when the world cannot see me 
and skeleton-like hands press the cloth down gently
bringing the chill closer to my skin

she watches us, 
silent 
visiting when the lights have all gone out 
and we are too delirious to separate her from unreality

she is content to be lost in the shadows 
hanging over the house like a ghost

the god that watched the old woman who lived here previously
buried nails in the garden and fickle pennies 
watched her grown ancient 
and became our guardians when we moved in 

she knows us 
our dirty secrets

us as children us when we were younger

she does not claim to see us untarnished 
but yet she still comes to our beds faithfully each night 
checks on us 
sometimes i can feel the ghost of hands pulling my sheets up around my shoulders 

our household god, lar, 
observes with the quiet stillness of lack of judgement 
and she blinks, 

and in the once second she didn't watch us, 

we have fallen asleep.

The End

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