Poetry

I Once Walked Around the House Upside-Down

A poem based on actual events

I once walked around the house upside-down,
the ceiling fan sprouting like an alien flower
from a diamond-encrusted field of snow,
coats craning on tippy-toe atop their hooks,
slabs of books hanging from dark shelves
like bats thick in their caves, dreaming;
and the frowny old man in the green painting 
seeming to smile now, standing on his head — 
startled by this new understanding, this revelation 
that a child with naught but a pot lid 
could render so radical a revolution.


About the poem

I have this memory from when I was seven of walking around the house holding the shiny lid of a pot just under my nose; directing my eyes downward, the mirrored world filled my vision, giving me a vertiginous feeling as I navigated around my once-familiar home, suddenly turned surreal. If you’d like to try this yourself, two pieces of advice:

  1. Unless you’re already short, try kneeling. I’m too tall now to get the full effect, because back then a lot of the furniture and wall-hangings were above my head…now I only get the top third of the wall.
  2. Stay inside, on terra cognito; I can’t be responsible for people walking into cars, tripping over sewer-grates, wandering into rose bushes, etc.

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