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Poltergeist House Eclogue

 

Woman


You wait until we're alone in the house;

unsettling, destabilizing, contra-indicating,

as if all should be calm here, not said

nor implied, the hum of the heating,

thermostat quavering, as if to prelude,

forewarn, distort a family photo.

This relationship is threadbare,

hanging on by a thread at best.


Poltergeist


Upset is not random, carefully planned

strategy, tactics are honed.

Council, community, mutual

understanding. Between us, a pact.

I move, we move, they move, only

where you want us to. Expectation,

tenterhooks, the book crashes to the floor—

you're on the other side of the table.

A seismograph registers, recording

at interstices of the body.


Woman


Investigate, don't run at first

provocation, imagine chance and external

occurrences, imagine distress

coming to a head: time-loss, faith

diminishing. A bird flew into the house

and dashed itself against the windows.

The light sharp outside, though frost

on the ground. I let it out. And still

books fell. And fall. We listen.


Poltergeist


Energy is data, first lesson we learn.

It has its own propaganda. Sexfeed,

screaming matches, making up...

things not bargained for. It's like

a package holiday. Like a shift

in the television schedule: she

searches hard beyond the image,

in there, amongst circuitry.


Woman


Small things falling, moving, almost

acceptable. But faucets all on or the carpets

changing color anger me.

The threat of exorcism is tense in the house.

The worse it gets the less I mention

these goings-on. Just store it up,

verging on critical. The radio comes on.


Poltergeist


Leaving a situation is both hard

and comforting. You know someone

as much as you ever will if it's

that far gone. And you can't take

them with you, you go out alone.

As scripts and formula are written

and spoken, I turn the wine to water.

I send cracks through plaster.

I turn stomachs. We are gone.     



—John Kinsella

 

 


John Kinsella 's most recent books of poetry are Visitants and The Hierarchy of Sheep. He teaches at Kenyon College and is a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University.


Originally published in the April/May 2002 issue of Boston Review


Copyright Boston Review, 1993–2005. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

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