The study as if someone has just left the room
and failed, for sixty-odd years, to return.
On its desk a last dead letter, faded ink
all but gone. A copy of Empire and Democracy?;
an igneous paperweight suffocating in its dust.
On the floor an antique, outsize Dictaphone;
a smell of desiccated newsprint and hooks;
two-volume Stalin, in several languages,
and besuited Chinese visitors, conspicuous.
And the narrow, low, bullet-proof doors
of the blossoming bouganvillea-draped house
seem small as an entrance to a tomb:
rusted home-made and riveted like those
on a prototype tank, time-lock or submarine –
fitted after Siqueiros’s (brief crazed and failed)
left-handed foray into homicide. The earth-
floored guardhouse is a converted garden shed
next the chicken coops; its guard’s toy-like
Remington with red-painted stock
is kept in the lobby with the photographs:
Trotsky with head in a big bandage.
“moments before death”. Detectives in hats,
grouped around exhibit A, the ice-pick.
Trotsky with nurses and medics, “moments after”