If These Walls Could Talk

“If These Walls Could Talk” at Real Toads. I chose the First Class Reading and Writing Room–USS Titanic

Reading and writing room on "A" deck
Reading and writing room on “A” deck

The film’s exposure may have caught it right–black ink stains of shadows

butting up to white explosions of sunlight through the windows,

through the curtains even, all that light warming the orientals

and swag. The sound the last man’s trousers made as they

whisked over the fine floral chair cushion–burgundy. I imagine.

 

And bourbon beneath crystal stoppers, so smooth a sail

the liquor is still.  A lovely woman wanders in here in the

long hour of the afternoon-her thin arm embracing

the white pillar, delicate piano fingers slowly tracing

the cool, glossy molding. She has never made love yet.

She carries that around like a question.

She has never been known.

 

I am stuck on this woman; I write about her in

this reading room and she is all I see now, her violet skirt panels

cinched at the waist, lace and satin belts. She is in here for the

many reasons a woman will wander and softly touch things in the quiet,

a calm pale flesh covering her body that stirs with the

longings of that age. My age.

 

She thinks-when this room is in silence on the sea

and the men are gone to deck or below–how so exposed it is,

no one to manipulate the atmosphere, no one to fill the room

with the self-important presence carried aboard up here, idle

and eternal–time stops at sea. The future is

tangible, steady, firm.

 

Let us name her Corrin–so that I may know her.

So that you may know her, in this writing room,

as she passes the settee, drawn out of the

black ink shadows and into the gray and white faded shot

of the room, drawing a finger across the mahogany

table, she comes into color and focus over this marbled wood,

her dress is violet again, her cheeks pink,

she looks back into her reflection on the table.

 

Corrin sees an expressionless woman, as if seeing

herself for the first time in private–she moves her neck

a little. Watches the shadows change across

her cheekbones and jaw line.

Is this okay? she wonders to herself, Is this okay, this face?

This woman here, waiting–is she…desirable?

She studies in silence, trying to see

what a man will someday see.

Will she be able to look at

him with her eyes just as they are now–

accepting herself as a fact–blinking,

and timeless, the sea stops this in her too.

 

 

Scuffing footsteps approach outside

and it all falls away as she shrinks to pose.

 

For a brief moment Corrin was the photographer

of a fine room, capturing by accident

the variations of exposure–the faded

weak impression of the splendid

details, but hard pressed and sure on shadow and light–

the essence we frame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24 thoughts on “If These Walls Could Talk

  1. This is a very empathetic portrait. One feels the sense of foreboding even as one reads of the elegance captured in that image.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I absolutely LOVE the voice you’ve taken in this.
    Here:
    “The sound the last man’s trousers made as they

    whisked over the fine floral chair cushion–burgundy. I imagine.”

    And:
    “She carries that around like a question.”

    Wonderful piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My word, this is gorgeous:

    “She is in here for the (great line break)
    many reasons a woman will wander and softly touch things in the quiet”

    Also these:

    “She carries that around like a question.
    She has never been known.”

    “accepting herself as a fact–blinking”

    “hard pressed and sure on shadow and light–
    the essence we frame”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Absolutely beautiful. And – alongside the masterly building up of details – what brilliant use of the unsaid.

    Liked by 1 person

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