cracked the lid of the black World War II chest, my fingertips
split by the aging brass hollows where locks used to fit.
rooted my nose in the cedar closet, kicking around mouse droppings
and the scent of cured wood in my hair.
lifted the false bottom of my mother’s bureau, the drawer where she kept The Joy of Sex and a picture of the one she lost it to.
exhumed the basement floor, the remnants of a darkroom
and a dirt crawlspace fit for ghosts.
pulled back the carpets, peeled the paper from the walls,
undid the stitching on every pillow, slept under the bed for weeks.
cored myself like an apple, said ten Hail Marys, lit a candle and said
your name in the mirror ‘til my smile bled at the edge.
wore the clothes of another girl, played my thigh bone like a bell,
felt the noise pierce my ear drum and throw my balance for good.
did everything you asked of me, held up my end of the deal, am waiting,
am waiting, I
for you to show yourself.
Rae Pagliarulo is a proud Philadelphia native currently working in the nonprofit development field. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post Blog, as well as West Chester University’s Daedalus: A Magazine of the Arts. She served as the magazine’s assistant editor and was awarded its “Best Short Work” award in 2003. She holds a BA from West Chester University, and is happily working towards her MFA in Creative Writing at Rosemont College.