A house inside a room inside
what the Gnostic Marcion called “this pitiful cell.”
The furnishings and people of the house
have the perfection of miniature,
which always – that’s the art of it –
leaves something out. (This doesn’t apply
to the chandelier in the ballroom,
its smallest crystal atoms wide.)
There should be jewels
on the gown of the woman at her vanity.
Her expression should be bland
or pleased, not reflective –
perhaps there was a slip of the one-hair brush.
The man in the salon at one with his tux
has too few features to feel much.
The children tumbling (advertently?) down
the curved stairs look too eager,
considering there’s no tree or anything
resembling a present. Are they all
going out? Why then the table grandly set?
If not, where are the others? Mislaid,
stolen … It seems a shame
to subject such craftsmanship to error and loss.
Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure and Happiness (Story Line Press; the former to be reissued by Red Hen Press), and two collections, A Poverty of Words (Prolific Press, 2015) and Landscape with Mutant (Smokestack Books, UK, 2018). Many of his other poems have appeared in print and online journals.