and the mansion is a labyrinth of reflections,
corridors shards, rooms fragments, faces cubist.
Passageways lead to themselves. Kitchens
teem with the poor chewing cutlery.
In living rooms pianos have been detuned.
The library’s shelves are full of hollow books
that double as ash-trays. Few speak aloud
though refined voices murmur through walls,
locked doors. You can hear the clink of bone
china, shuffling papers, a gavel. In the cellar
there is sobbing, the clanking of chains,
the smell of burning. No-one ventures down
to see what’s there. Somewhere in the maze
is a lost self holding a loved one’s hand
but you’ll never find your way back again.
On coffee tables are newspapers full of lies
about an outside world clamouring to get in –
as if anyone would want to come here,
as if anything exists beyond the front door.
Jonathan Taylor is an author, editor, lecturer and critic. His books include the novel Melissa (Salt, 2015), the memoir Take Me Home (Granta, 2007), and the poetry collection Musicolepsy (Shoestring, 2013). He is director of the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester in the UK. His website is www.jonathanptaylor.co.uk.