it was true, I left a candle burning. I laugh out loud. I am wearing a mask so the three people walking towards me can’t hear me say, “I set my altar on fire three times and never burned it down.” both the smoke detectors are beeping in my new house. I left a candle burning. it was a way to get me to go back. “I was really going to walk all the way to rittenhouse like this.” I was walking slower than before, kind of crawling while standing and crossing the street at the intersection to get around them. the people with their dog. I couldn’t pet the dog, make small talk, and couldn’t grab a real thought. I can’t believe I left a candle burning.  I needed a reason to go back. the outside was indeed the antithesis of joy. in breezes, it was algid and everyone was boarded up. I was walking slower than before, kind of slithering across the intersection, leaning slightly to the right and heading back home to ensure I had left the candle burning. to sit on the living room floor, weighted. to feel the tendril wrap my head and whisper: c’est la tien, but in her brevity and english again.

 it taped me to the living room floor and was immediately ineradicable. the sensations, the swarm. I had the thought once I was back inside that this was going to be extreme but due to superstition, thought I might want to rephrase it. shaking my head, I did say out loud, “no, this is intensity. you like intensity.” and I tried to remember the French phrase. not remember it, because it wasn’t forgotten but how to say it. I had practiced outside on my ten minute walk. vous saimez l’intensite. I repeated l’intensite to get the inflection down. it is best to get one at a time. j’aime lintensite. I was grateful for the candle, first, for the ritual that started this, then for making me sit and wait.  it wanted weight. I wanted weight and I wanted to break through the leftover things.

last time this happened, I laid down and let myself feel the pull of the earth. I imagined being toppled with dirt, someone shoveling dirt on me. I imagined the coolness of the rocks and my body nestled firmly as in a grave. guffawing,  letting the cat sit on me for grounding. I said things that had no meaning like I’m lying on top of a carcass or I feel less above the ground and more beneath it. a lot of things about a girl named Rebecca who I felt was tricking me. the realization there may be no Rebecca. the confusion and me this time thinking firmly no ghosts today. I don’t want ghosts here.

note book try tarot then lay down. I grabbed my notebook and I flipped the page to see the Virgo in the second house and in big all caps DO NOT PLAY MARTYR. 
it’s too late for that isnt it? I laugh out loud

“I need to get upstairs.”

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