The Attic

Time compressed, elongated,
fell between the spaces of the ductwork
in the compact attic.

Unheard screams lingered in limbo
as the door slammed shut;
escape blocked by an unwanted detour
into memory.

The past hung like the sword of Damocles
above the bric-a-brac packed in dusty boxes
crisply labeled with faded colors.

Cobwebs laced intricate knots
across surfaces and corners.
A paper wasp nest, devoid of life,
crumbled slowly into ash
from an exposed roof beam.

Walking on tiptoe,
through a sea of tangible reminders,
the dingy plywood creaked underfoot.
Dust tickled the back of the throat
with a shaky inhale of breath.

A mental treaty made,
treating it as a sick game -
one box,
one set of wounds,
one broken winner.