This old house, made of the bones of memories,
sits on top of a dark hill
overlooking a river that runs black.
The lawn is yellow, patchy,
even the weeds don’t grow well.
I’ve heard of the stories about this house,
that it’s inhabited by the ghosts
of bitter words and the starvation of hope.
I used to live in this old house
on top of the dark hill.
I’m the only one who escaped.

The kitchen is fully stocked,
boxes of cereal on the counter
covered in several years’ worth of dust,
cobwebs crowding the top of the windows.
My brother died in this room when he was six,
choked to death on a sweet,
I having left the packet unattended.
Don’t know if he’s still running around
in the memory of this place anymore,
I can’t feel him here causing mischief.

The living room floor is covered in old books,
Dostoevsky, Dickens, Bierce and Wilde.
The Devil’s Dictionary sits proudly on the coffee table
but I doubt even the Devil has a word for what happened here.
My father hanged himself from the ceiling fan,
after work, his tie round his neck.
I had caused the death of my brother a few weeks before
and I don’t think my father could take it anymore.
He never left a note, never attempted to absolve me
of any guilt I may have felt, he just threw his hands up in defeat.

Up the old staircase, creaking like it always used to do,
so out of breath for something so stationary,
exerting tremendous energy keeping us upright and upward bound.
The bathroom door is still open, the light not working.
No window in here, feels more like a prison now.
This is where my mother, after drinking a glass of wine
to wash down a few too many antidepressants,
drowned as she listened to my father’s favourite song.
I could hear the music through the door
and heard her submerge beneath the gentle waves of her swaying foot,
but I made no attempt to stop her.
You fight a losing battle if you try to halt the passage of time.

Into what may have once been my bedroom.
The Batman sheets still on my bed,
the smell of night terrors still clinging on
to the musty thick air of fear and tragedy.
This is where I knew I would die, beside my family,
at peace with all the universe could ever throw at me.
This is where it should all come full circle,
where I caused so much pain and grief through a minor mistake.
I have heard the rumours about this old house
on top of the dark hill, ghosts of memories,
flocks of dead birds swarming overhead.
The crying heard during the night in a room no one can find.
The splashing of water in an empty bathtub.
The man on the bed staring down infinity.

Don’t come to this old house,
there is nothing here.
Clever, that bit about the stairs "so out of breath for something so stationary." It's the little things like that which stick. Dead birds flying, not being able to feel the speaker's brother's mischief, specifically mentioning the staircase's purpose of bringing people upward and never downward... These are where the piece is strong.

A little more needlessly dramatic is the line "but I doubt even the Devil has a word for what happened here." The speaker's very purpose here is to give words to the spate of tragedies set into motion by the moment of neglect. There are clearly words is what I'm saying, and given the richness of detail elsewhere in the piece, that line cheapens the effect. While the piece as a whole does carry an overwhelmingly dark air that's purposefully suffocating, the lightness is in the stronger details. That line isn't one of them.

Cheers again.
I am a fake mountain.