The Chalk Circles

She's moving Mo's items around the house and chalking circles around them.
She leaves me messages like "PLEASE DON'T MOVE ANYTHING DAD I'M TAKING MEASUREMENTS". Instead, I put the bottles and the ceramic horse head back on her bedside table and rub off the chalk-marks.
When she gets in from school she screams at me so viciously I have to shut myself in the kitchen and hold the door. She bangs on it and throws her bag into my bedroom where I hear the sound of the gaming rig I've been working on tip over, off the desk, crash onto the carpet. She yells fuckfuckfuck and I open the kitchen door and shout "What did you just say?!" and snatch it closed again when I see her flushed face and furious eyes. Then her bedroom door bangs...
...and then there's calm.
I finally apologise quietly. She says it's fine.
"Do you want any dinner?"
We say goodnight without looking at each other.

I hear her moving round the house in the early morning. There's a delicate clinking of glass bottles as she carefully places them down on the floorboards in the spare room and redraws chalked circles around them.

I'm frozen, staring at the ceiling, surviving the rushing chest-ache flood of having somehow heard these sounds before.

It always starts up again in the spare room, with her trying to redo the last object set, as if she's putting them on show. She leaves me chalked instructions in all caps.

During the daytime when she's at school, I pick up her circled objects, one by one; feeling their oddness, turning them around and around in my hands, then putting them back.

Sometimes I sit cross-legged beside her clusters of markings, these fragile objects, as if I'm praying to make her stop.