How would one justify the extent of the madness -
    what is the weight, in grams, of the lie for which we
    built the house

And once the house was built and mortar dry and
    tapestries and paintings clothed the walls
    to end the hollow echoing through empty rooms

And when children emerged from tiny rooms to play
    and run and roll down stairs and scrape the walls
    and stain the rugs and to let goldfish die

And when dinner parties lasted late into the evening
    followed by coffee and cigars, and the furniture
    had to be replaced for the sake of social status,
    and the guest rooms torn down to make the library
    of books never opened past their inscriptions on the third page
    and the chipped china of wedding presents thrown out
    rather than given to charity

And when the children were no longer that but something else
    and rather like a mirror which does not fade in the absence
    of light, and when they themselves invariably vanished one
    to be replaced by the hand of the postman full of bills
    and blank postcards and the occasional ringing phone

And when retirement leapt out in ambush armed with
    reasons and sensibilities too many and too great to

And when the thousands of admirers who had once graced
    the presence of the house and worn her into something
    fashionable suddenly become as mist, and rooms so long
    unused and filled with vague memories of once important things
    become too much to look at

When the house becomes too much to bear, old and alone,
    and the thought of a quiet townhouse with no yards or maids
    seems as beautiful or tangible as winter roses

When the time comes to sell and move on:

Does the lie still follow you? Or was it bundled with the mortgage?