RECONSTRUCTING THE CONTEXT OF PAUL DE MAN'S HOUSE
Never met him myself. It was my brother
who lived in the house on his sabbatical.
My boyfriend Ed and I would drive
the Yamaha up Route 104 weekends
to escape the tyranny of parents
and find our true selves.
The house itself was very old, almost
untouched - it seemed -from the time
it served as an underground railway
in that war before the world debacles.
There was a cradle that contained
sheet music - sonatas that rocked gently
when the cat would jump off the dusty sofa
and stir the braided rug.
The canopied bed in the ground floor bedroom,
the vine out in back we would lie beneath
those late summer days, all the trees
sheltering us from a world we had come from
and to which we would have to return
kept me in mind all the time
of the dank passageways in the cellar
that led nowhere now.
The cat was called Fiddle and the tom
that courted her my brother named Beau,
hardly knowing, then, how apt it was
to make meaning
by naming it.
. Karen Alkalay-Gut home