House of Shadows

by on Feb 15, 2011 in Poetry | 0 comments

By F.J. Bergmann

I look out onto a landscape that could have been
formed by a glittering gas, heavier than air,
hissing out of the showerhead
to settle in translucent billows
that occlude the view of the privacy fence,
under the benediction of the mysterious animal
ornamenting the roof,
who always faces toward Disney World.
The bars of light on the walls move when I am not looking.

From inside a small obstinate cloud
a sitar is faintly heard,
playing reveille over and over and over.
At every tenth repeat it changes
to “Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond.”
Every hundredth time is “Bad to the Bone.”
On every millionth repetition it performs
the complete works of Penderecki,
arranged for a solitary instrument, of course.
I am quite comfortable here, if you like
this sort of thing; the dark is cool,
the liquid in the pool never fails to amuse,
if the refractive index is well established.
One of my pseudopodia can extend all the way
from the bedroom to the refrigerator.

You know all the favorite possessions
you lost when you moved or grew up?
I’ve got them here.
I know they mean you love me best of all.
When I entertain an unexplained absence of light,
I know what to believe.
The things under the box spring enhance the paradigm;
who knows what they plot, behind the purple dust ruffle.
I’ve seen the untidy gaps in reality
writhing across hot pavement in a slither of transparent worms,
and this is a direct effect of radiation, visible or otherwise.

Here, my pupils can dilate freely;
the penumbra gives my membranes an interesting hue,
and if I assume the stance of the mockingbird
I disappear into my own shadow.


More from F.J. Bergmann:

F.J. Bergmann frequents Wisconsin and fibitz.com. She is the poetry editor of Mobius: The Journal of Social Change. Her poems have appeared in Asimov’s SF, Mythic Delirium, Niteblade, Strange Horizons, Weird Tales, and a bunch of literary journals that should have known better. Constellation of the Dragonfly (Plan B Press, 2008) is her third chapbook; a fourth, Out of the Black Forest, is forthcoming from Centennial Press.

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