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What Haunts Us by Annie Phan

What Haunts Us

by Annie Phan

published in Rust & Moth, Autumn 2020

In the villages of my grandmother, they warn you of the child who beckons you to follow them deep into the forest, offers a heavy loaf of bread. You will choke on the stone in your throat and die hungry like the little child.

In my hometown, they warn you of the woman in white who wails for her children along the arroyos, the ones she drowned by her own hand. La Llorona will pull at you to follow her. Maybe this time you will not die like all the other ones did.

In this quiet room, in this exchange, you warn me not to walk that path. I have no right to drag you back to where our parents have never left, that place where all things stay lodged in the throat, emerge downstream years later when it’s far too late.

I think you’re right; let’s turn around. I’d like to go back and try again.

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