Jacob Polley

Doll’s House



A table set with tiny plates,

the chairs around a paper fire:

diminishment has simplified

the aims and objects of desire,

whilst blinder faith must still provide

the mincemeat in the wooden cakes,


the creaking stair and wind outside.

For you have held your breath to peer

along the shelves of depthless books

lining a room where nothing’s read;

and now, effortlessly giant, look

up to the eaves and in at the beds.


Be brave. To live is not to fear

despite the scale of what’s at stake.

Two children lie in matchbox cribs.

Next door a couple, stiff as pegs,

are tucked together, rib to rib,

the bedsheets bound around their legs.


What happens if you turn away?

Every god has asked the same,

crouched as a sideboard, just in case

sudden like laughter shakes

a heaven like an empty house

where not a plate or day will break.


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