Audio Tours of Your Home

by Dorothea Lasky

In the blue room
You will find a bed
And a small window
You will lie in the bed
For days on end

There will be a nightstand
With a simple lamp on it
Your bedspread
Will be cornflower
Like so many things around you

The wall with the window
It will be navy
Outside the window
Will be nothing
Except blank space

But it won’t matter
You’ll rarely leave your bed
Only occasionally
To use the bathtub
You’ll try for once a day

But hey who’s counting
You’ll smooth that cornflower bedspread
Over and over again
You will lie in the white sheets
Dirty and afraid

No one will bring you cookies
There’s absolutely
Nothing else within the room but you
Sometimes you will want
To go down the stairs

They will be white with no railing
You will end up first
In a blank room
With a rectangular white box
On it will be a hole or a void

It will go nowhere
You will spit into it
Then see your saliva
Go nowhere or somewhere
Into some other dimension

It might have once been
A washing machine
But it’s no matter
You have no clothes
In this house to wash

When it’s time for your bath
You will transport yourself
Through the white wall of the room
And into the bathroom
You will turn yourself right side up

You will look
Into the small oval mirror
And see your face
And how you are aging
You will barely recognize yourself

But then again
You will look exactly the same
As when you were born
You will remember
These things from before the house

But only remember them vaguely
Existence will be
A very faint heartbeat
Heard in the middle of a rainstorm
You will look at the light blue clawfoot tub

Next to the cornflower blue tiles
You will fill it with fake water
And sink in
After your bath you won’t dry off
There are no towels anyway

There won’t even be soap
Miraculously there still is water
But who knows for how long
Sopping wet you will become invisible
Soon you will be in an empty room

Empty except for a painting
It’s of this house
Standing straight up
Into the night
Under the thumbnail moon

Outside will be a navy door
With a triangular headframe
In the upper left corner
There will be a little lamp
You will never go out there

You will stay in the empty room
And imagine the outside
The floor of the room is cerulean
The only thing on it besides you
Is a black cat

Sometimes you will pretend she is real
But really she is only ceramic
Or sometimes you will wonder
Is she only a shadow
(and of what)

This question will depress you immensely
So soon after thinking it
You will float back up to your bedroom
You will go under the cornflower blue bedspread
You will sleep for as long as you can

Your Bathroom

Everything is divided into tiny squares
The white wall
And bright blue floor
The greyish blue wall
Every minute of every day
All of life

In the mirror there is a white diagonal
On top of a grey- blue semi-glossy sheen
You can’t see your face in it
But why would you want to
There is nothing in here
Not even makeup

As you consider going into the
White clawfoot tub
You’ll remember so many moments before
Where you quietly meditated
In other white clawfoot tubs
And wrote poems

But that was a lifetime ago
Beneath your mirror is a white oval sink
Sitting on a slightly A-line column
To the right of it is a metal trash can
Sometimes you’ll open it
You’ll put all of your dreams in there

Your Study

This is the room with so much in it
A grey-blue bookshelf full of books
A grey-blue paper lampshade
Hanging from the ceiling above your computer
It’s a desktop computer with a large screen
You have a wireless mouse and keyboard
You’re all set to do anything

Your desk chair is cornflower blue and has four wheels
Will you sit in it and write a novel
Or even think: what is language anyway?
The screen of your computer is pitch dark
There’s no way to charge it
In this room you’ll have to write
Your entire novel within your mind

Across the room is another desk
You’re not so sure why you need two but you must
Hey why not, is what you said to yourself
When they wheeled the other one in here
Now on it is a small-lined notepad
A black pencil and the blue shadow of a coffee cup
There’s a too hot desk lamp on it that looks like a paperclip

Most of the time you will sit on the grey-blue couch
With the white pillow as lumbar support
Behind you a window and its grey-blue curtain
Emptying out into nothing but the white hot sun
You will stare off into the white wall and think of your novel
It’s about a person who is so alone that they’re fine
It’s based on a true story

Your Wall

Here is the cat again
She seems more real now
She’s sitting so innocently
Looking at the cornflower wall
There’s something she knows
But she won’t tell anyone
Her skinny tail is more like a rodent
And she has her own shadow

A shadow within a shadow
She sees someone
She can make faces out behind the wall
They are saying something
Maybe they are telling her to play with the lamp
It’s to her right with a blue cord
That goes nowhere
Its body is blue and its lampshade is grey-white

It’s horrible levitating in the room like this
You still can’t come down from this angle
The voices said up and there you went
Everything in life is a portal
You tried to explain this to the cat once
But she couldn’t hear you
Everything in life is ceramic
You’ll try to break it and you will

Dorothea Lasky is the author of six books, most recently Animal. She teaches at Columbia University School of the Arts.