Requiem In The Old House – Nathanael O’Reilly

This room is but a collection of shapes
stacked into pyramids storing laughter /
regret  / the smell of apples and moss
the sands of time, or some such
It’s in the soft-edged curl of rectangular
photographs, leeched of colour,
that you might see me
Do you? There – I’m smiling,
sandy-mouthed grin at my brother carousing
a dead octopus jauntily angled on his head.
My uncle’s unframed mirror reflects this attic
back on itself, the identical clutter
blurry with dust.
You can’t see me in the mirror
any more than you can see me here,
unless you were to look closely:           
There, behind that case of grandmother’s
furs (for Baltic winters)
if you were to squint, or tip your head
sideways, you might glimpse
the shadow of me.
           Three flights down in another world
           the toilet flushes, pipes rattle, stairs creak
they call your name in supplication
and when you turn your head I’m gone
from the corner of your eye, a trick
of the light