Haunted by Hubbard

For as long as we lived in the Bronx

I can remember there being

A copy of Dianetics on the steps

leading to second floor of our house.

It was about four or so steps up from the landing.

No one I knew in our family read it.

It was like this neutral crossing guard

Witnessing our travels up and down the stairs

Always sitting there with other books I cannot recall.

I remember its general colors.

The commercial played on television constantly

During the time it was released

And it seemed,

for many years after.

There was the orange and yellow splash of fire or

Volcanic lava,

Actively leaping and frozen in time

On the paperback cover.

Every once in a while I would pick it up

And absentmindedly flip through

While I was on the phone with friends in high school.

Or having long talks with my mom in the evening,

Me wedging myself lengthwise on the steps

Looking at her through a beaded curtain

While she cleaned or sewed

Or made food for a catering job.

But no attention was paid to the content of Dianetics.

Krishna, Buddha, Allah, Jesus, Shakti, Goddess all came through

But L. Ron Hubbard never got a word in.

The pages became as yellow as that fire on the cover.

And no one I knew ever read it.

But it sat on our steps for ages.

As if it’s presence alone was quite enough

without actually attempting to accept it.



10:00 AM

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