Wednesday, November 10, 2010

La Maison Rose

(For Wallace Stevens)


This house was made from oak
and ash and cottonwood, felled
and hewn from nearby woods,
half-timbered, mortised and tenoned,
plastered with teutonic precision
by old-country artisans from down
south who blew in, performed
their crafts, then blew away again.
They never gave this Pink House
another thought.


Playboys and Troubadours have livened
these walls and Luke the Drifter's
given odes to whippoorwills and light.
Voices here echo mathematical harmonies.
Even the cantilevered roof that covers
the back porch reflects the essential
geometry of exception—the lurid trill
of an albino skunk, the weird mooing
of a horse who believes herself a cow—
integers, crucial as any, in the equation
that explains our Pink House.


We are wearers of earth, who live here,
wrapped in the lineaments of place.
At night, we're warmed by filaments
of muttons—in sleep, we dream
upon foul plumes. Waking, our heads
and feet are armored by epidermides
of beeves, our bodies arrayed
in hirsute bolls. We die when we're old,
are folded inside, vested in oak,
in maggots and loam.


Our edifice of light is square by design
and towerless, bereft of palms,
but glories in tuftless ordinary days.
It is a place of windows, though, and stars
and a receiver of suns and moons.
It is known to every kind of wind,
moans in August for the odor of rain,
and creaks under the restless weight
of human purpose. Barely civilized, it longs
for the promiscuous pleasures of entropy.


Our imagination has joined
with this house, and Cosmos.
Our walls are thin.

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