for Heather and Bruce

Outside, the barber pole, a swirl

of symbolic spirals, and walk

upstairs, touching, as you go,

the espagnolette, which gives purchase

to your hand, opening inward

where the first bijou gleams like a clue

on a map that leads to the tiny globe

set in a stand so the hand can spin

a journey for the body to walk

between statuary, statue, and statuettes.

One giraffe taller than the jardinière’s

placed just inside the doorway,

where chimes announce a visitor

as the cuckoo clucks its hour.

Onward, then, in pilgrimage

toward walls on which sprays,

sconces, swags, fold their velvet creases

toward the sun you crave in blinded

spigots, and become aware

of the grandfather clock, the girandole

upon whose five stars wax beaded,

held the shape of the last supper.

Farther then, into the walk-through,

where all manner of salver make you

salivate, though you’re barely able

to enter this kitchen without breaking a tazza.

Call it ornament, nonetheless

cuspidation’s been at work here

with its lures, objets trouvés, and patens.

Menorah, modillion, and monteith

conspire to fill each space with curios,

non-alcoholic punch the latter’s

last drink, and, continue inward, your eyes

see patterns, kaleidoscopic, pontypooled

now from fatigue of many nights spent

awake in this elaborate house,

several diptychs open, too many trinkets

offering up to sight a sense of curios.

And then the single crucifix,

round which vermiculation troubles

background. So far the journey

into a place of decoration remains

gilded more than guild, until you realize

this flat represents an age.

The tiny piano holds its smile,

the triptych’s no more three-dimensional

than the diptych’s two, and no, nothing

blesses you in ultima. It’s simply suggestion—

the serving of yellowed beverages,

the hallway littered with collections

from antiquity when you began to leave

bizarre calling cards on the shelf

beside that speculum in the foyer.

There, an antique door’s French panes,

changed from glass to mirrors, where—

you?—your face?—gone from flesh

to quatrefoil hangs, the hangdog look of an elder,

a random personage of no great value, in that

you—(do you see?) have come three flights

up to worship horizontals.  




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