The Weather Inside the House by Kevin Chesser
A long time ago,
I thought of a number in my head,
and everywhere I went, I asked people to guess it.
What it’s between, they would say.
You and me, I’d say. With eyes
like strip mined moons,
they could never guess it.
I enjoyed my number.
It was a rewarding secret, like a haunted house
only I could go to,
a family member only I could see.
mom and dad sat me down
with eyes wide as halved oranges and said son,
tell us the number
before it gets you killed.
I told them the number
would never hurt me,
or anyone. I’m sure animals knew it though.
at the zoo there was a panther,
and how it looked at me told me
it knew the number,
but wouldn’t tell anyone,
it promised, with twinkling
I heard on the news the panther
ate a couple of kids that fell
into its enclosure, but no one’s sure
exactly how many.
It’s important everyone has their secrets.
Otherwise, the world is just
a bunch of wars. Houses.
Kevin Chesser is a writer and musician living in West Virginia. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Hobart, Kestrel, A Void, and elsewhere. He earned his MFA in poetry from West Virginia Wesleyan College, and is a frequent contributor to the Travelin' Appalachians Revue, a collective promoting experimental literature & music throughout the Appalachian region.