There’s someone’s old attic
At the top of the house,
A little crooked memory
On somebody else’s daily swept
Freshly aired life
Of unpacking boxes,
That they’ve missed
By a decade or few.
But when the windows are opened in the evening,
The ghosts seem to be humming,
Swaying and twisting
In somebody’s arms from long ago.
she painted herself a room
and walked into it
just like that
and lay down on the rich blue bedspread
and watched the world pass her by.
saw as they
lifted her world
a room full of rooms
other people’s rooms
with other lonely hearts
dozing on leather couches
staring at bowls of sunflowers
looking out of rainy windows
and watching the watchers go by
as the dissected rooms
parts of them hidden
to all but those who painted them
were looked at
as someone walked up to her room
and stared at her across a red velvet cordon.
and she stared back
until he gave up
and wandered away.
A shaft of afternoon sun,
A slice of moonlight,
And a lot of dust confetti:
That’s where your childhood is
packed away. In trunks. In boxes
full of tiny dresses. In dolls
with cobwebs in their eyes.
It was a perfect spot, a fairy place
on rainy days:
“And after I rescued their prince,
The Queen granted me my wish!”
That’s why you were a fairy for a day,
when you flew to school in purple wings
And a name that rolls like marbles on a wooden floor
Like Lylornia, or Seraphynia.
And on bitter-tasting salty days,
when you didn’t understand why
the whole world had stopped loving you,
no one would find you there, hidden
behind that musty forlorn smell,
behind grandma’s old parrot cage.
So you never found out what
That trunk contained, the one that sat
in the corner dreaming of old days, the one
that used to be at the bottom of a dark-green sea,
until your brother slew the sea-dragon that hoarded it
and brought it to you. But he never told you.
It contained letters that your dad wrote
To mum when they were young. Pshaw!
“It contains treasure! Pearls and diamonds
And scepters with crystal orbs! But there is
no way of finding out.”
Because a ghoul sits on top of it, rattling its lock,
And he sings of longing on stormy days.
I think you can still hear him,
If you listen.
And if you once again climb the stairs that lead
To that old place, I’m sure he’ll tell that it was you
That he was waiting for, and lead you to the fairies.