She’s the woman with the grey face
of the house, the house that has her
for its walls, its door on the latch
for the stopout faither.

She walks back and to, back and to
under the washing in the yard,
or she lies down beneath the line,
for hours drifting unanswered.

She is the grate and its embers,
waiting. She is the long column of arrears,
seven-and-three added to itself for ever.
She is the lobby, the empty parlour.

The house speaks to her: she is
its idea of itself. She speaks to herself
with the voice of the house because she is
its lip, its Mansioned doorstep.

One afternoon she goes out.
There’s the wind’s fist at the door
but she still walks out on herself,
closes the door in her face.