tribute

i am the woman upstairs when company
comes doors are closed and sometimes
locked and i may be on one side
or the other with the yellow wallpaper
and i may creep around to have
a look in the parlor or i may lay down
with the baby while it naps —
a calming guzzle to its sleep
breath but i may also crouch
behind the swinging kitchen door
to frighten cook when she brings the
tea tray or perhaps that’s me —
i am supposed to bring the sandwiches
and petit fours and berries but
i have forgotten because i am no angel
and the children whimper in the
nursery as the trees’ waves
entrance me through the windy rain and
laudanum – either too much or too little —
doesn’t level and the doctor’s hushed
syllables float past and out the window while
i sit in my own room with rocks in
the pockets of my sweater as they
all wonder and glance and employ
the carefully constructed
nonacknowledgment of the flowers
i had to buy myself when it was
so difficult; no one can be properly
organized to do anything so i find
sipping tea from a jar in the kitchen
much easier than standing an outing
anywhere and in the dark
up in the cupola i can see
the water and ships and the
lighthouse cuts the pitch and i know
i know because i am the woman
upstairs.
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