Verse > Emily Dickinson > Complete Poems > IV. Time & Eternity > 130. “There’s been a death in the opposite house”

Emily Dickinson (1830–86).  Complete Poems.  1924.

Part Four: Time and Eternity


THERE’S been a death in the opposite house
  As lately as to-day.
I know it by the numb look
  Such houses have alway.
The neighbors rustle in and out,        5
  The doctor drives away.
A window opens like a pod,
  Abrupt, mechanically;
Somebody flings a mattress out,—
  The children hurry by;        10
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,        15
  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        20
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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