Silence in the Garden, Silence in the Halls

At the lowest of tides
  we go walking
through the low tide
  mansions, surfaced,
stairways roughed with
  salt, barnacles,

the banisters salt-cured
  white. We roam
barefoot in muslin dresses
  and do not
speak, relieved a few hours
  from our names,

from children waking, from
  closets bowed
with color, from the drone
  of machines
that do our bidding. Our eyes
  close beneath

the sun-drenched pergola,
  twisted thick
with petrified vines of wisteria.
  We turn in slow
circles through the grand ballroom,
  baked clean

of gold and varnish, a wreck
  of rusted
cello stands washed in
  the corner.
Crystal chandeliers, clouded
  to sea glass

become stone. Wallpaper dissolved,
  walls encrusted
with the raw white lace
  of the sea.
Dry opal fish scales eddy
  in our wake.

We always reconvene
  on the widow’s walk,
littered with lost anchors.
  From there,
we witness the low tide

another mansion appearing,
  alive, like
white coral, farther down
  the long drift
of strand. We will make
  our way there,

across the burning noon sand,
  to each mansion,
where we own nothing, and
  love no one,
cloistered by the tides
  in these convents

of the desert
  and of the deep.