Relaxed Reads: Ghost in My Closet

Illustration by LaQuann Dawson.

Illustration by LaQuann Dawson.

Shelby Driver

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There is a ghost in my closet. 

It eats at me like moths consuming 

cotton, savoring every mouthful like 

sugar-coated candy, until I am a 

skeleton made of wirey coat hangers, 

bent and misshapen, as if all I was ever 

good for was to unlock doors or to

check the oil. 

Hearts hang in the stretched out sleeves 

of sweaters, hand me downs too big, 

didn’t fit, never fit, won’t ever fit

they hang like wet socks laid out to dry

dried out belts are jerky in the mouth

of the ghost.

The doors of my closet breathe in and out, 

hollow lungs made of pillowcases, 

chiffon dresses too thin to keep out the chill 

the ghost puts on tattered sneakers

and tap dances in the boxes stacked 

on the shelf, steeped in stained dress pants

and these made your thighs look fat 

and other things that I thought would make 

me feel beautiful. 

A foggy film webs through my belongings

the ghost taints them with a self-hate song

cut and dry my favorite scarves 

drink up the leftover lotion bottles and

outdated perfume and suck out the 

smell of cedar and used up tissues

carried in pockets of well worn ghosts

that cloak an empty closet.