Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Contending With Her Own House Of Usher

Shaking off from my spirit what must have been a dream
Edgar Allen Poe

That eeriness
descending the stairs of dusk
tinkers with the brass lock

of a woman sawn in half
by thought. Half awake,
half asleep. she hears the bolt
slide backwards, unfasten.
No one is in the house.

Footsteps pace the hall
staying on those planks
of Brazilian wood, not breaching
a boundary between rooms.

Hand clutching a rosary
she prays. Silence follows
until her tongue clicks
unconsciously. A clock hand
moves and something
is released, sent to reconcile

with an unseen force.
Her blood has been the lamp's oil,
burning with a hunger
for death ; but it's not the season
for palm brooms to sweep
a floor littered
with her dust and ashes.

Each night, the ritual
is resurrected. Solitude
burnt-out and sagging
like a candle wick, a crippled spine,
summons its own shadow
that comes as undertaker
to claim her anguish,

and leave the body to collapse
in rest, if only for a few
hours with a few stars
unstrung from a ring of planets.

Outside her window
they keep vigil-- while no one
no one trespasses in the house.

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