I am dreaming of a house just like this one
but larger and opener to the trees, nighter
than day and higher than noon, and you,
visiting, knocking to get in, hoping for icy
milk or hot tea or whatever it is you like.
For each night is a long drink in a short glass.
A drink of blacksound water, such a rush
and fall of lonesome no form can contain it.
And if it isn’t night yet, though I seem to
recall that it is, then it is not for everyone.
Did you receive my invitation? It is not
for everyone. Please come to my house
lit by leaf light. It’s like a book with bright
pages filled with flocks and glens and groves
and overlooked by Pan, that seductive satyr
in whom the fish is also cooked. A book that
took too long to read but minutes to unread—
that is—to forget. Strange are the pages
thus. Nothing but the hope of company.
I made too much pie in expectation. I was
hoping to sit with you in a tree house in a
nightgown in a real way. Did you receive
my invitation? Written in haste, before
leaf blinked out, before the idea fully formed.
An idea like a storm cloud that does not spill
or arrive but moves silently in a direction.
Like a dark book in a long life with a vague
hope in a wood house with an open door.
—Poetry, September 2011
Brenda Shaughnessy is the author of Interior with Sudden Joy (1999), Human Dark with Sugar (2008), winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, and Our Andromeda (2012).