I’m pretty sure that dark rooms don’t have it in for us.

They have no way of possessing us, though I suppose

you could possess yourself in such a way

and not realize that, or perhaps deny that, in which case

you’d probably perceive the room or something in it

was haunting or trying to take you.

Actually, I’m pretty sure we are the ones who haunt us,

pretty sure demons don’t exist, the way my father was

pretty sure I hadn’t seen a giant egg walking around

the house at night when he said to me at the kitchen table

when I was 5 “It was probably just me going to the bathroom.”

But I’m also pretty sure it’s my face that keeps looking

for answers in my living room, whenever I hear the wind

moving through the crawlspace and pushing against

the walls until they appear to breathe. They don’t, I’m pretty

sure, at least not reasonably or rationally speaking.

But I’m not even sure that matters, since, when you come

right down to it, no object can be a thing without ultimately

believing first that it can be, and then limiting one’s thinking

about it to a set of principles one’s already decided to be “right,”

which in many cases just means convenient, more

comfortable to live with.

For example, last night I was pretty sure it was me who

kept repeating to himself the mantra “Don’t be afraid to fear,”

while I kept glancing at my coat hanging on the back

of the bedroom door, just in case it decided to turn

into something sinister and slowly drift toward the

edge of the bed with its hands clasped out in front of it,

and I’d need to run toward it, screaming with crazy courage,

and try to subdue it and make it tell me why it tortures me

the way that it does. In fact, before letting it back up

I think I’d ask it if it wanted me to make it a drink or maybe

a snack first,

the way my grandmother used to ask me “Do you want me

to butter your bread?” and if I wanted powdered sugar

on my strawberries, and, upon seeing my bruised and swollen

face and, being pretty sure I’d had a horrifically unfair and

terrifying night, drifted over to the kitchen table with her hands

clasped out in front of her and said “You eat as much as you