American folklore

Adam J. Gellings

I got a knock on the front door the other day from an elderly man
            & his wife
the man said he had a question if I didn’t mind
            I said I didn’t mind what was the question
he asked what I knew about the family murdered in that house
            over there
            at the end of the cul-de-sac
            years ago
I followed his boney finger, callused knuckle
I said when we were kids we called it the murder house
            my father had helped build it
I said his name was written in white chalk on one of the beams
            in the attic
            along with the other four that helped
            it’s probably still there actually
I said I remembered the wife’s name was Louisa
            she was a nurse but always wanted to be an actress
            one year I watched the Sugar Bowl in the living room with the kids
I said that Florida State quarterback sure threw all over the Buckeye defense
            that night
I remembered the dad had a lot of books in the den

My dad helped nail plywood on all the windows afterward
            I bet those panels wished they were still trees
as you can see the shutters are all rotted
we used to throw the baseball over there
it was messy
it was real messy
I said rampage
            no I didn’t but my old man did
            when he came back home he said he needed to sit down
            all three kids the wife the husband, the nanny

I said it was the wife’s coworker at the hospital
            yep sure was

I said flesh
            who knows why
            just sits there like an abandoned prayer

I said yep that’s the murder house
            cars pass by it slowly

          three bedrooms two & a half baths.