It seems as if a twig is not enough; curly Roman hair,
a faulty reflection in the house of mirrors, a split leaf
in the midday sun. Fallen love. A portrait of a stranger
ragged in the hallway of your family home,
the tungsten filament brittle in the lightbulb, floor creaking.
You spend your time looking through archives,
interrogating aunts, wiping dust off window ledges.
It is all in your eyes: low, weary. A russet copse.
An octogenarian angel comes to let you know
the painting you have commissioned is not erroneous;
it does reflect your imaginings, but you do not see
the birds in the sky, or the tenacious flowers growing
as the snow begins to drift onto earth. By the river:
mallards, grey herons, swans. Bare silver birches.
What is left in your room: a disconnected telephone,
a facsimile of a handwritten letter from the Queen,
the violet armchair in which you read the message,
a book on Goya, illegible scrawls on scraps of paper.