And this is my house.
Wipe your feet carefully at the red mat
Before stepping into the dark throb
Of the central heating system.
Be gentle with the furniture
Which carries the sap of the house
In silent, cupped hands,
Kneading meanings to feed through
I apologise for the clutter
And lack of illumination though;
I am a bad host.
But refrain from using a torch;
My belongings dislike having light
Shone upon their faces.
You must roam through the
Twists and folds
Seeing nothing, learning nothing.
Feel your way up to the attic
And your fingers will find
Black curtains lidded and
Beached on two sole windows.
The wind can’t get in—
I have let you into my house.
It is not a privilege I extend to many.
So when you go to the front door again,
Feeling the sudden chill,
Don’t be surprised to find
No golden sand, no turquoise waters,
But blackened teeth clamping
On the horizon.
ZHOU HUIWEN was highly commended in the Inspired by Tagore Writing Competition (2011), and awarded first place in the Torrance Legacy Creative Writing Awards (2011). She is a commended Foyle Young Poet (2012), and currently studies in Singapore.