Issue 13

Autumn 2014


Love What You’ve Done

My house has several thousand
corners, cupboards, cubbyholes, and tunnels.
This fetish for concealment
and tubes may intrigue analysts
of the “object-relations” school, but it’s how the place
was made. In an upstairs john,
a unit over the toilet hides
and shades part of the windowsill,
on which there leans a dark stamped-metal bird
in flight. It’s from West Virginia;
I don’t know what it means.
There are other darkened areas
and objects. One secret passage
(the lever is behind some books)
has an earth floor, and goes deeper than I have.
There are bones. Another bypasses
death, leads straight to the Pure Land,
but I’m leaving it for last.
Although I don’t get out much
I cover a lot of ground. My nights are busy
with monsters worse than those of Hollywood;
one can accuse the latter of many things
but not of elegy.
I suppose my fondness for the place
derives from a childhood liking
for dolls' houses. (A loner, I transgressed
that gender taboo, which anyway was less fraught
than dolls.) I wanted to get
inside one, be among
those simplified, perfected shapes and colors.
You know those presents you received back then,
which were never exactly what you wanted;
but for each you were expected
to write thank-yous and, presumably,
let your imagination work on it:
it was your gift.


Frederick Pollack