House on the Cliff

The house stood on the precipice
between worlds and dimensions
an apparition or a changeling
no one knows
a sanctuary or a prison
no one agrees

many pass by
some never leave
this is the story of the house on the cliff:

she came 
looking for her daughter
the name given and returned 
empty handed. she walked each
room back and again. out the windows
she caught glimpses of hands beckoning
she resumed. 
this one does not leave.

he skirted the edges, watching the 
shuttered windows. suspicious but curious
he stepped closer. the wraiths licked 
his ankles, the warm tongues
tempting, he ran away

she crossed the lawn of flowers
the door slightly opened, she entered
rest for awhile, said the bed
she did and the blanket dried
the streaks on her cheeks.
she left to return on sunny days
bringing frames for the mantlepiece

he banged the door open
finding nothing but water
inundating his lungs
he set the house to flame
and walked before the wall collapsed
but the smell clung to him
as if he had never left

he entered the house in the morn
and left by the eve
he’d checked the pantry
they were not the food he sought

she thought she’d left a long time ago
but each step she took she looked back
and she’s as close as she had been before
that wicked house

the boy ran to the house
arms flailing, he called out
as the tips of his fingers
touched the door
the house disappeared.
into the breeze, 
without wings