Open House

“Enchant me then, rabble…”
~ Tomaž Šalamun

The harp in the center of the living room,
meant to reflect the shimmer of wind.

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Seamed overlap of scalloped shells
that skirt the length of walls.

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Under every cane-striped lounging chair,
a sepia-stained chamberpot.

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Fleur-de-lis, geometry of sunken shapes: fine
debris of sweets and dust in ancient cookie stamps.

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Lace the color of old tea. Swirled wood
that holds the secrets of four-posters.

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Slippers of brocade, rows of glass
atomizers on the night-stand.

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In the cool, high-ceilinged toilet, a two-
seater commode gives proof of their intimacy.

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Beneath the balcony, frogs lisp on the cistern’s
mossy lip: water source, hiding place, route to escape.

~ middle class, colonial Filipino house, c. 1850

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