Going to a Famous Dead Poet’s House on your Birthday


Once above a shop in a mill town
my lemon yellow flat
with the white sash windows
stood out slightly on the corner
far enough so that I could almost see
down the middle of the street
with the houses seamed together,
twins in cream and pastels.

In the summer a cool breeze flows
from the spread fingers of cobbled alleyways,
through the north window
and the rooms of the flat.

The trip to the dead poet’s house
was only two train rides
and one 
trip on the bus.
I had only seen it in pictures before.
Maybe even just an old sketch in a book.
I always imagined the lake on a dark day or at night,
green grass and bush surrounding it.

Could you swim there? Were there mosquitoes?
In my mind though,
I had the grand house to myself.
Leaving my drafty flat behind me.
Watching the deer step out of the forest onto the green.

There are guest rooms for family to stay,
friends that have nothing to do but arrive at the gate
and raise extravagant goblets of wine and champagne on the deck,
look at the sea of stars speckling the atmos
because there is no electric light around, no streetlights.

Where I lived in my flat,
at night in the street,
people were drunk, the pub door shut behind them
laughter echoing up to the chimneys
or arguing with their partners through their cell phones.

I start wishing that I see the darkness of it all,
the darkness over the lake.
That I grow cold easily in the grand house, because of its size
despite the roaring fire, and a cardigan over my shoulders.
That I start wondering if there are wolves in the forest.
But I don’t. I like it here.

I extinguish the candle at the dead poet’s house,
the trailing wax has made mystic formations
and I admire the work of the spirits.

In reality everything is in cabinets.
All the bright embroidered tiny clothing,
the overcoats, the worn shoes with buckles.
There is a cue of people in front and behind me,
staring through the glass.

And after, I stood there in the sun,
on the grounds
 by the lake,
watching the tourists empty their pockets
at the expensive tea house.
The grass cut too short, and growing
brown in the sun.

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