The call of owls at night, always interrogating.
A fear of hairy tree demons crouched in the branches,
smoking cigars. We went to school but left an opening, 
for in case any of that was true. Returning from funerals,
we washed our hands by the door, in case the souls
of the departed had followed our scent home. 
Under a froth of mosquito netting, an island
from which to push off toward sleep. You tucked
every fold carefully around the mattress, leaving
no space. In the ceiling or in the floor, some houses 
held a secret door—one rusted handle coupled with 
an iron slide lock. Before the grownups retired for
the night, sometimes they walked around the house 
perimeter, checking windows or scattering salt.

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