Unpack the Idol

It came time to unpack her bag. She had sat for hours now in the room in every comfortable position (her favorite being on a pine straight wooden chair with her legs crossed beneath her, back rigid.) She had smelled every corner (ammonia, cedar, lemon extract, human skin), listened to the walls and baseboards and the immobile ceiling fan hung with dust (the creaking of the joints of the old building, the sagging of its flesh, the squeaking of distant vermin.) Tasted her fingers after running them under the lip of the mattress (sweat, dog saliva, blood, cat dander, semen, snake tongue.)

Her bag lay open on the floor, inconveniently blocking both the front door and the door to the bathroom, not to mention both closet doors. Her clothes were neatly rumpled within; a book of ancient weapons had slid around, upsetting things during the commute. She could put the clothes on the hangers. She could lay the book on the desk. She could zip her bag up and shove it in the closet, out of the way.

But she won’t.

She wants them to trip, to fall, and to know what she was reading when they find her and to think of it as they sing her old songs. She would have them touch her clothes and get her smell on their hands and chests so that her ghost can find its way back from the edge of the black river and touch their spines in the night. And she will see them on their faces from behind her death mask, in accidental worship.

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