The house watches over the pictures of the dead
each wall tightly close
to their vertical smiles.
Think the household tools
the hammer in the shadow of the shed
the nails scattered on the rag, the saw
the frozen fretwork of the basket.
They put out fire and lamp-posts
they closed the wooden shutters
each room knows only
a line of winter’s moon.
Veiled sofas and chairs
knocked over a bottle and a glass
the halls dissolved
in the haze of the sheets and of the darkness.
With care the winter prepares its misfortune
with sorrowful obsession piles up light on snow
one by one it trains the birds
in the cold of threads and branches, in beds made only of slats
in the wave of the mattresses
left to fray with the wind.
Nothing obscures the chaste beauty of this misery
the ember burns in a distant fireplace
the water gathers elsewhere
in vessels of domestic quietness, in luminous houses
from the driveway to the front door.
The winter arranges his time
like bread it lays it down on stony window sills
calmly it gathers my gaze
your neck the geranium pierced by the sparrow
the paper that got wet in the rain.
The key dangles in the nocturnal gesture
Count the steps, count the flakes from the beams between the shoes.
We will go for long now
body next to body
in the short space that has been assigned to us.
Still able to cast a shadow on a wall,