in a red house that no longer stands there was a closet full of books and bottles and bones. i had to creep through the attic crawl space to get to the back corner. i was small and eager. he was there, my ghost friend. made only of a clothespin and kleenex, he collected dust and memories. his crayola eyes watched me turn musty pages of equations. i hummed to the tune of loon songs. there is a tune to them.
grandpa had blown up the barn twice. i found photos of the wreckage one afternoon when i retreated to the closet. illegal fireworks and toys of chemists caused the explosions. he disguised himself as a pharmacist. it was a believable pretense. but eventually his insanity became legendary. i love that about him. i missed him by ten years.
the bones were human bones. he had stashed gold along with them in the insulation. before the wrecking ball tore the closet apart, grandma saved the skeleton and coins. the FBI shipped the bones away. grandma did not show them the rifles kept behind the laundry room wall.
someday i will walk the patch of ground where the red house stood. to search for a missing piece of childhood or a clothespin.