My brother kept his collection of horror comics
in piles in the basement
in the same area as his chemistry set.
After the hurricane, everything down there smelled of mold.
We floated around the cellar on makeshift wooden rafts
falling occasionally into murky water.
The smell lingered on our clothes after they were washed.

The gaping hole in the concrete floor where the new pump was installed
made me less likely to go down there after dark,
but, like the pictures of spiders and scorpions
in my natural history textbook,
my brother's comic books beckoned to me --
bottles of blood delivered to cemetery crypts,
bodies reassembled incompletely after automobile accidents.

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