[Discovered in a locked drawer of the author’s desk, which the author instructed me to open in his absence. The filigreed key had been stashed in the hollow pommel of a walking stick propped against the mantel in his study. Mr. Garamond, to my knowledge, has never had a limp. —Ed.]
The Secret of the House of Garamond.
If that is our real name.
The scream in the gazebo.
The beast in the boxwood.
The birdshit on the bust.
It rattles the dumbwaiter, upsets the vase.
Opens the hidden panel. Chills the pewter spoons.
Audit the library: it’s logged in all the books.
The worm in the portfolio,
the tarnish on the frame.
All the rumors are true—
you are all our brothers, sisters, children, and lovers.
You are complicit, too. The whole world knows,
which means we know why it must stay a secret.
The scratching in the basement.
The white slip at the window of the widow’s watch.
The flaw in the eastern gable.
I scrawl it in the margin, tuck it in my breast pocket.
Folded six times like Teddy Roosevelt’s speech,
which walled the assassin’s bullet from his heart
(or walled it just enough).
My talisman. It will not let me go.
Of all my articles the most authentic,
it watches as I order one more wine
and order one more wine and guarantees
I’ll be there in the morning.