By order of the remaining heirs.

SALE

For sale: by order of the remaining heirs
Who ran up and down the big center stairs
The what-not, the settee, the Chippendale chairs
—And an attic of horrors, a closet of fears.

The furniture polished and polished so grand,
A stable and paddock, some fox-hunting land,
The summer house shaped like a village band stand
—And grandfather’s sinister hovering hand.

The antimacassar for the sofa in red,
The Bechstein piano, the four-poster bed,
The library used as a card room instead
—And some watery eyes in a Copley head.

The dining room carpet dyed brighter than blood,
The table where everyone ate as he should,
The sideboard beside which a tall footman stood
—And a fume of decay that clings fast to the wood.

The hand-painted wall-paper, finer than skin,
The room that the children had never been in,
All the rings and the relics encrusted with sin
—And the taint in a blood that was running too thin.

–Theodore Roethke

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2 thoughts on “By order of the remaining heirs.

  1. Andrea says:

    Hi Dana! This has nothing to do with the excellent Roethke poem posted above. Rather, I’m using this space to ask a question that’s been eating at me for many years.. Did you write something in which the detective, a woman, is out in the woods with an expert tracker whose technique involves “tracking with the heart” — recognizing discrepancies in your own heartbeat as the first signal that you’ve subliminally spotted something significant? I can’t remember where I found it — it was back in the mid-90s, I think — but I’d love to read it again. Someone suggested it might have been from a book of yours, and I’m finally getting around to asking you directly.

    Like

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