There were three diamonds of light
in the corner by the stairs:
above the light switch dirtied by finger marks
on the closet where a young ghost was crouched,
below the smooth, metallic image of a saint
Like constellations (the Seven Sisters),
they seemed to know the other existed
Outside, a nightgowned girl was running
from summer dusk and eternal gnats
Her arms outstretched and begging
to be noticed more than
the ears –
the eyes –
On the porch, the father smiled, “At twelve, at twelve,”
as the corner lost its light marks – unseen, unscarred
Juanito strummed across the floor,
the boards scuffed as if tapped upon
by a thousand Shirley Temples.
An artist, a woman
in a sheer dress of shadows
hung – unlike a painting or a curtain
or even a lamp jolting with ideas
clicking bright, on, off –
in the background
She was a presence with opinions
scrawled on paper doilies
and, when desperate,
a leather bound journal from Italy.
The artist, she was chiming,
“No breeze can reach me on this hill.
If I close my face to everything,
the world is very still.”
And Juanito, the sanguine rebel,
with a tip, a tap, a tap, tap, tap.
He was breaking her obsession
with wearing funeral black.