Rules For Exploring an Abandoned Cottage
Bow down, just enough, as you cross the doorless threshold.
Do not remove your shoes.
If there is anything yet unbroken, do not break it.
Allow your eyes to adjust to the thick-wall small-window light.
You may touch the rich layer of powdery dirt on the mantelpiece.
Picture the ghost-images in pale ovals and rectangles on the walls.
Trust the base of the fireplace, but not the floorboards.
Do not tousle the moss in the leaked-on kitchen sink.
Tack carefully around the Haversham cobwebs.
Test each stair-tread as you ascend: go by the feel not the creaking.
Do not look for symmetry in the daylight patches in the roof.
Do marvel at the presence of what remains of a single bed.
Gaze for a lengthy moment at the survival of a dank pillow.
Sense the weight of the head that left such heft-shape.
Hurry away. Seek company.
For at least one hour, leave your life unexamined.