Somewhere there's a street of empty houses,
Roof after roof, the doors bleached white by memory
Which I, like the force of night, travel over,
Making stairs out of words, sounds too low to hear.
Again and again in dreams, I
Find the right house, open the door. All that vanished furniture
Unreproachful, calls itself by the right names.
And the stream still runs down the gully; the old woman, leathery
as a bat,
Is dabbling her yellow toes in it.
We lead her home slowly in her damp print dress,
While down at the end of the street God still lives.
Our children play a high white noise at late o'clock;
We call to them, out on the porches, under the leaf-knobbed trees:
Come here, come back,
But the houses are transparent as Corinth,
The beautiful roofline folds up onto the sky
Closing us out.Special permission has been granted by the author for Design Observer to reprint this poem online. Read more poems here.