There's Been a Death in the Opposite House


There's been a death in the opposite house
As lately as today.
I know it by the numb look
Such houses have alway.

The neighbours rustle in and out,
The doctor drives away.
A window opens like a pod,
Abrupt, mechanically;

Somebody flings a mattress out, - 
The children hurry by;
They wonder if It died on that, - 
I used to when a boy.

The minister goes stiffly in
As if the house were his,
And he owned all the mourners now,
And little boys besides;

And then the milliner, and the man
Of the appalling trade,
To take the measure of the house.
There'll be that dark parade

Of tassels and of coaches soon;
It's easy as a sign, - 
The intuition of the news
In just a country town.


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It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.