In Emily Dickinson’s Bedroom
A chilly light pervades the empty room
bringing neither its current nor former inhabitant peace.
Rather, its immaterial lingering infests
both the air inside and what we see of the grass
outside—brittle, brown, as if it wanted to avoid the sun.
Inside, the visitor must be respectful
and polite, evasive without actually telling lies.
Everything here seems hidden—is hidden—not
just the bricked-up chimney and plastered-over doorway. Any
clue—under the wide floorboards, behind the blocked entrance—
to the haunted chambers of a heart? Patches of verse, of
old wallpaper, the main street not yet a street. What industry
motivated those uncanny dashes—these shadows
still eluding our meager efforts to scrutinize.
Copyright © 2015 by Lloyd Schwartz. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 10, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.