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.