Tara Teeling

Like Winchester House - Poem by Tara Teeling

I’m just like Sarah,
running away from
those implacable ghosts,
hell-bent on my redemption.
Twisty, curling corridors
leading to nowhere,
keep me running frantic,
forcing doorknobs,
bouncing off walls.

Build on, build on! , I cry.
With more rooms to hide in,
they’ll surely tire of hunting me.
My scent will be lost,
and any notion of my penance
will float aimlessly through the front door.

But, I hear footsteps closing in,
with ominous tapping on the cold, wooden floors.
How strange to think that the dead make sounds,
clicking and crying a menacing aria
that only the guilty can hear.

The carousel tinkle
mocks the terror I wear.
Portals to panels,
staircases to ceilings,
and me
with a bruised and battered head.

And yet,
I am the one who raised the walls.
I am the architect of my own collapse.
I’m running and searching
for warm, familiar rooms,
looking for a spiring bed with heavy covers,
and all I can find is more emptiness,
more space to add on to.

Sarah died in her sleep,
they say, an old woman
with winter-grey hair
and a worry-worn face.
She died alone, in a bed,
in a house she never left.

I ask no one in particular,
did she never think to
build a door
that would lead her out?

quiet voices whisper in my ear,
don’t you build your own?

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 21, 2006

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