old Paris apartment building with dark windows

Dowsing Photographs 5: A Paris Suburb

The smallest objects melt together.
Layers of letter, letters, more letters,
keepsakes, clippings and embroidery;

Interleaved photographs:
a house, half-asleep, preserved
in aspic, glows through the gelatine
print that caught one gated morning.
It is furled up: corseted
like a suburb, weighted
with dark Turkish carpets and ottomans.

Inside, pale-fingered ladies drown
in waves of linen and dark carved wood.
Nets and books are cased
by their beds, ready to be opened when
maids come with silver trays to pin
veils of hairpieces to their fragile heads.

The back gate opens with an ostrich
feather softness, a rustle
of red and yellow paper
hidden under skirts.
Brightness prised from the street,
pinned up like a photograph.