From the north window families can be seen posing seated on a canvas of thistle. They watch this house so empty, its echoes enormous, rotund and sonorous. My nervous strings vibrate. The waves eddy and bounce off bare pine. Wood panels the ground, the ceiling and the windows like we hover when we lie, we waver when we wake. The walls are the same as skies—one gray for rain, one blue for sun, one ecru for the August day that stretches opaque into the heat, a sepia wash of dirt and haze. This house is an iceberg with its basement warren. An inverted root system. There is pleasure in considering underworlds when they are so near.

A secret room in dreams I’ve found through a hidden door—a passage so steep and narrow as to forbid entry. The room always already set up for life—drugstore knockoff perfumes at the vanity, cobwebs infused with their scent. But the mirror returns only the far wall’s face. Its once ornate sconces dulled now by dust. Dryness so dry it has the stink of a burning that needs just a spark to occur. To sit on this tufted velveteen bench and await the furious knocking, the especially zealous demand for entry. The four poster bed full of fancy precisely for its lack of life, dripping with crinoline chewed through long since by whom? Surely an artifact with no purpose but to be observed.

In all this time I cannot sleep for waiting. Incongruent traffic and cockscrow. The uncanny improbable space of loft. Storage doors and exposed insulation. Cobwebs muster in the corners, too much dust to ever clean. That accumulus of dust misleads. Any plan to renovate is sacrilege. It is an occult parable of a room. It does not want improvement. For this I leave a dish of copal and call it good, crawl reclusive down-up the stairs—they are no stairs of mine.

They watch as at a camera, expect the flash of ignited silver nitrate, would have me tear the ceiling clear for lightning, quakes of ozone. Would have me unleash the western sheets of rain upon the furniture, to soak the bed, to warp the floor slats and render the doors unflush. The house has only gratitude that they are outside and I in.