What brings me to the basement in the middle of the night is as much a product of my history as it is my circumstance. It’s quiet, no loads in either washing machines or dryers, no one either on the exercise equipment on the far side. I creep down the steps slowly, slowly, like in a horror movie, like if this was in a horror movie I’d be creeping down the steps slowly, slowly, and the audience would be shouting, “No! No! Don’t go down the steps!” Broom in one hand and the other gripping the banister because I’ve had a few, enough to prompt Amy to voice her concern. It’s always them who can’t control their impulses that don’t survive, the audience knows. The audience understands intuitively the tropes of this, the horror movie genre. I peek around the doorway as if beyond the doorway is the monster I’ve been creeping toward, but there is no monster. There is only lint.
Originally published in Carve Magazine, Honorable Mention, 2019 Poetry & Prose Contest.