BEGIN TYPING YOUR SEARCH ABOVE AND PRESS RETURN TO SEARCH. PRESS ESC TO CANCEL

How To Protect Your Home


This selection is paired with Chapter 1 of We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. Get NonBinary Review #15 at Zoetic Press. 


“There had not been this many words sounded in our house for a long time, and it was going to take a while to clean them out” – Shirley Jackson

It’s no longer enough to nail father’s gold watch chain to a tree
To bury coins and blue marbles in the creek bed
Baby teeth planted only dragons know where

No    the Words must now change daily     No Repeats
Must never be spoken aloud
Yesterday was TURQUOISE     ELLIPSIS     PORTABELLA

And additional barriers must be built
Monitored    reinforced
Crucifying a book is a beginning

But you also need to start curating a new kind of kindling
To scatter it on the intruder’s linens     To feed his embers
To smash the biggest mirror in the house

Kill all the familiar faces trapped inside
Because to truly protect your castle
You must be willing to risk gutting it     roof razed

Attic     a sodden museum
All forty-four of Uncle’s chapters    published as ashes
Windows stoned    figurines shattered

Mother’s harp toppled
Yes    in the end    you may be forced to let all the intruders in
To run riot on your turrets and battlements

Let them think they broke your harp and won
You may have to sleep some nights beside the stream
Slink shadows with black paws    pink pads

But as long as you have
Constance you can reclaim your castle
Inventory your preserves    build better    thicker barricades

Repair your magic till it’s strong again
In time     you’ll laugh to see the cruelest intruders
Become your humblest patrons

If they leave words on the stoop    burn them in your stove for warmth
If they leave you eggs and frosted cakes    let them supplement
The pumpkin pies and mushrooms you are learning to grow on the moon


Daniel Hales‘ hybrid book, Run Story, is forthcoming any day now from Shape&Nature Press. He is also the author of three poetry chapbooks, most recently, Shake My Ashes. I play in 2 bands: The frost heaves and hales. and The Ambiguities. I also have a recording side-project called Umbral, and our debut album, Predawn To Postdusk, was released by Spork Press in April.