All Such Ruined Houses Are Haunted Richard Fein Poetry

local_library All Such Ruined Houses Are Haunted

by Richard Fein

Published in Issue No. 3 ~ April, 1996

Donna stuttered.
We knew three boys who stuttered but no girl,
except Donna.
One of our gang heard his mom say
that her mother once worked in the Club Valley.
She danced by the willows under the red and blue lights,
and served men in the house.
We knew what serving men meant, or thought we did–
then the fire, then the ruin.
All such ruined houses are haunted,
but we’d play hide-and-seek there.
Donna would also hide in the drooping leaves,
but she played no games.
Once she stuttered to me not to tell,
for her mom carried a dog leash
which she used especially when drunk.

Her mother asked me once where Donna was hiding.
She was a grownup.
She knew gangsters, that’s what I heard.
All this was many years ago.
A co-op now stands on the lot.
Of the weeping willows, the haunted house–not a trace.
I was scared.
She asked where.
I told.

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Richard Fein had this to say about his poem: "The checkout girl in the poem is real. She's someone I flirted with a long time ago. Part of the writing process is storing disparate images in your brain and combining them in interesting ways. This poem is a synthesis of various experiences. The Elvis and UFO articles are also real, but were not simultaneous with my meeting with the girl."