The ghost of this house
is forgetting to believe in me
despite the feathers I hold to my lips,
the hearts drawn in the mist
of breathed-on windows.
She misses the evidence laid out
for her to find — a strand of hair on a pillowcase,
telltale tissue kisses in the bin,
my fingers printing the white walls
with forensic blossom.
Nothing impinges --
my existence hinges on a draught
angled through a half-open door,
her shoulder blades’ slight shiver
as she walks through me.
At night I make myself scarce,
haunting the edges of the darkness,
she is mistress of, lost
in the muted television’s
occasional light snow.
When she’s asleep, I seat myself
at her dressing table’s triptych
tilting the mirrors this way and that,
trying to catch in the infinity of rooms
the flit of a face.
Perhaps I’m only the complex
origami of her dream — my filmsy skin
is becoming less convincing,
I worry at my argument of bone,
unnerved to detect
in this slow diminishment
a sense of coming home:
content to step aside in the empty kitchen,
to make room for the still life of knives,
the proved bread.
Esther Morgan, “The Ghost of This House”