Monday, June 1, 2009

Those Dream Houses

When you dream of houses—of thick-walled
stucco bungalows skulking across Sonoma,
the gingerbread and bric-a-brac fantasies
of New England, or cold French villas
beside greying seas—you should

dream, too, of bleached linoleum, unpolished
spoons, of dry tangerines in wire baskets,
the velvet dust of shelves and thumb-licked
books, the strange machinery
of basements.

When you walk in dreamt hallways,
between undiscovered rooms where
the etched light of dim lamps picks rust
off iron bedsteads and lingers
over the many-fingered clocks,

you should dream as well of the closets—
filled, as they are, with feathers
and peeling sequins, hatboxes,
failed prom dresses, the detritus
of mousey sweaters, cedar shavings.

And when the dreaming takes you
to hopeless chests never meant
for a bride—where soft-edged cards
of sewing needles and a grandmotherly
jar of mixed buttons horde their

dreams of usefulness—then,
and only then, will you understand
the sharp wit of broken windows,
and the clean-swept floors

of an unfurnished mind.

This poem first appeared in  Full of Crow, June 2009.

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