Colour drains out of things
and edges become undefined:
the difference between this and that
fading like bird call.

Then shaping the remains of our world into theirs,
the dead step forth:
a vase and a pile of laundry
and a broom that leans on a chair
is a bent old woman,
turning her head to regard you,
the drift of her cobweb hair
as fine as a murmur
you don’t want to hear.

You feel at once you’re intruding,
that you took a wrong turn in the hallway
and entered a room adrift in a mirror,
or a memory retained in the stones of the house.

She sees you reach out in your terror,
and disappears when you snap on the light
and the known returns like the rush of an incoming tide
erasing tracks from the ribs of a shore.

But the twilight is still falling,
and perspectives shift in the rooms up above,
where the furniture leaps to restore her;
somehow you know she stands by your bed —
then you start to remember your sickness last night,
and the pain as you passed through the gates of the dead,
under that tangle of bedclothes.

You’re like a child again, alone with your fear
with the dark closing in.
So you run up the stairs to the one who might help you —
she’s nowhere in sight
till you look out the window,
at the hunch of a hillside, the hair of a willow,
the crook of a pathway that fades in the dark:
the trace of a world that’s departing
for the hollow domains of starlight.