Doll's House

The same workshop I'd crept into as a child,
the smell of sawdust and Christmas huddled there,
the same black bricks light traces a finger across.
It was like hunting for presents on Christmas Eve,
the same pangs of guilt and excitement
excitement always won and you had to lift burial shrouds.
I remember wooden castles, garages, swords
all in various stages of construction.
Skeletons lying in the world's toy mausoleum.

I shook his hand and it was like he was wearing
a glove, some rough glove.
I was watching myself shake his hand,
it seemed to be a formality.
A farewell as necessary as any greeting.
This was the hand that had crafted so much,
now arthritic, motion becoming an ideal.
The hand could have been crafted itself,
worn from wood.

Now I remember that the house was in the corner,
its back removed to display the interior, its structure.
It was undecorated, its staircase led
to naked rooms.
Hollow, awaiting only a ghost.

FIRE 22, p 56; John Davies