Today's poem is by Angie Estes

The House in Good Taste

would be one way to think of
heaven, spacious waiting place
with mirrors cut in squares and held

in place by small rosettes
of gilt. Just beyond Versailles,
it's perfect for a tryst: lying

on taffeta pillows embroidered with Never
complain, Never explain
, you can be in
and out of love the way Trieste was

in and out of Italy, making James Joyce
exclaim, And trieste, ah trieste,
ate I my liver
, which, translated, means

triste était mon livre. My book,
too, was sad, called Via Trieste
about one of the world's great

ports, a major connection between
Europe and Asia, "third entrance
of the Suez Canal," a city that no one

wanted—except Maximilian, who
just before dying in Mexico, ordered
two thousand nightingales sent

from Trieste. Like him
and Elsie de Wolfe, I believe
in plenty of optimism and white

paint, the keys of the maple turned
like parchment bats, chasing
themselves to earth, and the doves

riding their angled guy wire
up into the maple like St. John
in Giotto's Assumption, flying

into heaven. How many times have
you had to walk to the other side
of the store because you can't tell

which escalator's going up, which
one's already there? De Wolfe never
stopped renovating her villa outside

Versailles and left at her death
a tangled garden, the cemetery
for her dogs, each gravestone inscribed

The One I Loved the Best. At her first glimpse
of the Parthenon in Athens, she cried
It's beige, my color! She would

side with the keys of the maple, tell them
to keep their tryst with the earth, dark
and cool like theaters in the days

of continuous movies, when we would
turn to each other and say this
is where we came in.

Copyright © 2006 Angie Estes All rights reserved
from The Manhattan Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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