The White Shoe Irregular:
It was fun while it lasted.

A Drummer Speaks to New Tenants

Marilyn Nelson

You will find my house still sighing
between the fingers of the hills.
Leave the grapes to steam the air
with their venom, the south walls pocked
with their toeholds. Let everything move
inward: the slow violets and columbines
straining toward doorways, the growing
shadows, the eaves collapsing like old lungs
beneath the cottonwoods. Disturb nothing.
In the backyard, there is a toilet perched
on a spindly pipe like a speared peach.
That, too, must stay.

          If you wake
on rainy mornings, wondering why your floors
are splashed with moonlight, the uproar
of air lifting the clear roof like some iced
heaven, that's when you know the place
is yours. (Of course the porch will always
be silent, full of one sunken couch,
and safe unless the rain blows sideways.)
I will not return.

          I have always wished
to fill my rooms with cymbals, the air folding
around their domes in soft pleats, discs hissing
like lightning, gathering watery light to float
uneasily above their bright canopy.
Can you understand me? Sometimes to find
the music you have to leave everything.
Imagine a house so full of birds
that the ceilings billow like winged steam,
When they fly, your ribs sting from the rhythm.
After a while, you hear wings even in silence.
You feel them nesting like sadness in your ears.

Where I am going, even walls will breathe
with my drumming. Flocks of cymbals
will sing like crickets beneath my hands.