The Plunder House
Tired of the empty fields,
the saw grass stretching out of ditches,
the yellow-petalled weeds by the roadside,
we came upon The Plunder House,
its grey-blue-wood-paneled walls,
its mossy-green-shingled roof, and no,
there was no pirate above the door
despite the fact we half expected
to see one with a cutlass in his teeth,
a gold hoop earring in his right ear,
and a skull, perhaps, on his trigone hat.
Inside, the dust-filled light made velvet
shimmer in mirrors, the room
swimming in the nostalgia of attics,
of the untouched, the dead.
A scale, some frames, and then
a cruciform vial filled with foxglove
bearing a lop-sided inscription claiming
a cure for the dreaded Dropsy.
And among the maps, a star chart
from the 1860's, its once night-indigo
now the faded blue of blueprints—
in the middle of all those stars,
the artist had found it necessary
to place Cancer, entire worlds
touching its sturdy, spikey arms.
Medical students then, we had yet to learn
when we could or could not cure.
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