Floor Plan


In the betrayal room, crouched

the dining table under small-paned

windows, flecked with crumbs

and surrounded by four unmatching

chairs.  Against the far wall

slouched a desk, like clay awaiting shape.

Mid-floor lay the bed in the betrayal room.


The kitchen lived in back with its inconvenient

separate taps for hot water and cold,

with its cracked linoleum and tiny mushrooms

growing on the drain board.  A radio

nested on a corner shelf with scalloped edges.


A bedroom loft for children hung in air,

or sort of, for the eight steps up to it

were made of fog.  Such noisy children,

being boys, I guess, except for Mary,

until nine o’clock, ahh, no more children,

just the radio’s faint hum in the betrayal room.


Underneath the loft lurked a closet where squat

cartons of outgrown clothes and infant photographs,

where jigged among the shadows a half-gallon jug,

fifty-cents worth of Sam Jasper wine, dark red,

restless for this sleeping time of children

and a march of triumph into the betrayal room.


Sam Jasper, Sam Jasper, Sam Jasper, my dear,

today the house was near collapse, but now at last you’re here.


Jean Esteve