We grew up in an empty home

No father to wait up for

No mother to tuck us in bed

Only shouts heard at night from behind the door where I lay my head

There was no picket fence

There were no family photos decorating the fireplace mantel


I can tell you how it felt

The only love I’d known was the discipline of the belt

We hid in the empty house

in the closet

in the attic

We stayed still

Quiet as static


Our empty house where we’d always be

Windows and doors

No light got in

No darkness came out

The house became our friend; holding all the secrets

Never telling a soul

This house kept us whole

It saw the sins of our father, and the agony of our mother

Haunted with the ghosts of what could’ve been


We grew up in an empty home that became too full

The hosts fed off of the secrets, sins, and lies

We had to cut ties

My brother and I

We lit the house on fire

We stayed to watch it burn, then played in the ashes

No one would ever know what happened in that empty home.