Monday, 1 July 2013

The House

Our house is plumbed with darkness, its windows curtained with cow parsley's old lace. We improvise where we can, and in general we are pleased with the way the light percolates in and lays itself in shifting patterns across the furniture and floors. Bananas soften on the side and turn dark and sweet. Ghosts slip in on an angled breeze, doors bang behind them. They leave their sincere fragrances, deep as beeswax, sharp as gorgonzola.
Delirium lives here with us, in her crinoline dresses, her perfect cheekbones and her crinkled lavender corsets. She is big on treason and on theft but  she cannot keep a secret. Her throat is so translucent each mouthful of swallowed wine shows through. There are tell-tale tissues in every bin. She invites us to her burlesque parties, throwing grand gestures in our direction. I suppose in every house there is room for improvement.
We ransack the house looking for clues. Open her drawers: here is the French handkerchief, a relic from the last war, here is the lost key. Here are the three wedding rings. When I see them I crack the full length of my heart, and the house turns, folds in upon itself, with all the inscrutable origami of a dream. Now it is castle, horror, love. When I look up there is Delirium's face flickering in the mirror. The word adultery settles on my heart like a piece of corroded metal, but she didn't say that. She said 'Stop shivering or I might have to kill you.' And the house whispers in response: 'I am sorry. Here are my lupins, my red hot pokers, my roses. Let there always be bouquets from now on.' And I wave to her, as I turn and see the whole thing again, from a different angle.

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