In my house of rooms
I measure what can’t be left or gotten over.
Lowercase letters climb up and down stairways,
bedrooms crumble inside a million broken mirrors,
foyers are lined with birthday cake.
Marching bands accompany me
to the daily precipice.
Effigies of old women give away papers
scribbled with tricks that seem transgressive.
Gods that are not god to anybody.
The love of a second god, or a third that shadows it.
Or shadows themselves, truths to grudgingly love
though it doesn’t burn like some tree
and it feels kind of frozen.
I was a fool to put my hand in.
Your tabernacles will turn to sieves, it said.
So I open my briefcase of balms and correctives
and stack them in cupboards of my ancient house.
I welcome the gladiators and mermaids
who are there to murder me.
Let them do it. I will decorate this house
with the future tense. I fill my house with hymns.
Copyright © 2018 Diane Mehta
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.