It’s easy to feel like a ghost when the person who was meant to love you the most, made you feel like a nuisance, something embarrassing, scary or better out of sight and mind. When your mother violently curses your ‘demonic’ father, who became invisible before you were two years old and, in the next breath tells you, you are exactly like him. When she tells you many times that you are cold and hard, while she lays stiff on the couch for days, shrugging you off as you crawl between the gap of her rigid back and the couch fabric, trying to be very gentle and gossamer-light.
After a hilarious writing faux pas at school had landed you in Mrs Drinkwaters’ special class. The teacher having asked you to write using proper paragraphs, explaining how to indent the first word for each new section, only you’d taken it too literally, indenting every new sentence on a new line, all the way down the page. It was a very neat and slim mistake, but your had mother laughed at you openly with her friend as soon as you came home. So you’d floated your ridiculous, burning face up straight up to your room with the new blank jotter Mrs. Drinkwater had given you.
You were almost ten when you found out about your mother’s Ouija board while eavesdropping at one of her Tupperware parties. How she was terrified of having unleashed an evil spirit on the house. That she was cursed. How she’d consulted one of your Christian neighbours in a fit of anxiety and now kept a bible, open on Psalm 91. It didn’t make up for anything, but you almost felt sad for her, like you understood something about her you hadn’t before. Why she was always jumpy when someone knocked at the door and how small and awkward she looked whenever a new man was in the house. She was afraid of ghosts. Afraid of you.
SYREETA MUIR (she/her) has writing in Sledgehammer Lit, A Thin Slice of Anxiety, Jake, The Daily Drunk Mag, Ligeia Magazine, The Blood Pudding, Roi Fainéant Press and others. Her art has been featured in Barren Magazine, Olney Magazine, The Viridian Door, Rejection Letters and Bullshit Lit. She received Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations for her work in The Disappointed Housewife and Versification. Posts on Twitter as @phantomsspleen, Bluesky as @phantomsspleen.bsky.social and on Instagram as @hungryghostpoet.