We walked to a house,

abandoned from a murder,

its windows all blackened


like great peering holes.

It was me and my cousin

and a witch we found online;


you see, I had insisted

that ghosts were a hoax.

We arrived about two hours


before midnight,

the witch with her spell book

and my cousin with hopes


that I might see

something emerge

from this most eerie of homes.


We sat for an hour

my cousin and I intensely watching

the witchÕs hand which holds


the tall thin book

that she guaranteed

would bring us the hosts


of the dead.  In the silence

of the night, she recited her words

and then I heard hooves,


the sound of a growing wind

and the gentlest of howls

as if, from the cornfields,


were approaching hounds.

And the book seemed to rise

from the witchÕs hands.


My cousin stands,

says heÕs seen enough,

but the sound of hoots


fills the wind, and the house

seemed to move like a corpse whose

lungs have revived and refuse


to give into hells,

instead struggle for here

with the woods and our hoods


pulled up tight on our ears,

and my cousin must

have seen me disappear,


running from the house

and leaving him alone

with the house and its holes


and the howls

in the wind and the witch

and the terror that grows


and I hope that my cousin

made it home,

but who knows . . .


© Ron Riekki


Bio:  Ron Riekki's books include U.P., Here, and The Way North.