I’m in a house that’s too big
the Diversey St. house
Ted sees a ghost a young girl
cross the kitchen and disappear
through the door that leads upstairs
I don’t exactly believe that or
maybe I believe I’m the
ghost myself, asleep, and
awake at the same time
haunting my house. I see two
pieces of shattered glass full of light
you and I sleeping. Climb down in the dark
down into the basement or
up where the guests might lie.
Only walk free, only released
from fear in my sleep.
Aureoles of lamps are too bright, awake.
I’ve written a failed poem of lilacs.
Can I ever forgive myself for my thoughts,
for my fear of a crazed demise?
In this pointlessness of modern
physicality, this body, admired house.
And then someone says,
I think you should write happier poems.
More than once I’m asked to deny
The weight of this house’s shadows.
I’m so in it now
As a ghost I am perhaps from the future.
Ghost in an own life of mine.
Because fear blocks the door
And can’t I bring the baby to the future.
I can’t believe the future comes
except as tragedy
I let smug men say things about my poems.
Am I trying to turn into
a smug man so I – fear sits on I
so I won’t be afraid, I guess.
And deeper still
who’s afraid, It is I.
Below who’s afraid’s the one who isn’t.
The ghost from the future. I almost
believe I will prevail
when I’m asleep and the future
haunts this house.
– from Mysteries of small houses, 1998