This year all the mirrors have shattered by Jonathan Taylor

for Helen


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

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