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House of Usher

by Chris Sorrenti

And travellers now within that valley,
    Through the red-litten windows, see
Vast forms that move fantastically
    To a discordant melody;
While, like a rapid ghastly river,
    Through the pale door,
A hideous throng rush out forever,
    And laugh – but smile no more.

    - Edgar Allan Poe,
     The Fall of the House of Usher

how I welcome the
lengthening shadows of evening
to mask this house’s imperfections
the man I’ve always been

scratched hardwood floors
that moan for new polyurethane
tiles long since seen better days
walls, their owner’s personality
that haunted whisper
for fresh coats of paint

and beyond to yard
where ghastly weeds
never cease in their creep
advance between patio stones
thus up through cracks of brain
to cut them down means
only more work the following week

they were wrong
a man’s home is more than his castle
but a prison, sickeningly bright with dank
how everything new soon loses its lustre
the ceaseless battle against dust and grime

and yet somehow
content in the madness
I laugh, but smile no more
for what preoccupies me
in this mansion of
broken mirrors and dreams
is the vision of home which lies beyond

where no dust, no grime...yellowing paint
penetrates those walls
and further to yard, a garden lush
lies lawn ever soft to sole of foot
broken only by flowers in eternal bloom
all ne’er to require tending

and so if I die here amidst the pall
pass beyond this earthly gloom
then fellow residents
I say “none too soon”

oh how I welcome those
lengthening shadows of evening
to mask this house’s imperfections
the man I’ll never be

© 2002
Revised © 2017

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Posted on 12/14/2017
Copyright © 2022 Chris Sorrenti

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