for Louise Cowan
Wisdom builds her house,
But folly with her own hands tears it down.
- Proverbs 14:1
You enter the house to see the house, four walls
And foundation under constant hazard
Of time and crumbling emotions in time.
You enter the house to see what the house
Is not: these four walls and seven mansions,
The ghostly heads turned from the weariness
Of history, the keepers of the shades
Now gone down to sacred rest and left restless,
Unburied. Enter the house. The senses detect
A quiet genius undisturbed as attic air,
Locked in a tomb, no part of the fixtures
But like a fiction, finding the locus
Where object and memory meet, escape
Time, and maintain vigilance over what
From root cellar grows in the house of Haddix:
Expressed, the elegant elegiacs
Of dust and mold, by finger of bone
That traces glistening tracks a snail would make
As it hears the volume of time, bears the weight
Of place, and nears inevitable lessons of the salt-lick.