That room with the green wallpaper

That room with the green wallpaper

with printed flowers

now a little faded

and a light brown wardrobe

on the left side

and a darker trunk

lying just behind


never opened, because

it holds secrets

forbidden, because

it belongs to the past

I never played with the dolls it contains

I am not admitted

to the world of memories

– somebody else’s memories

that nevertheless hit me

and tie me in their ropes

that tight me up

and then release me

giving me the illusion

of being


in the present

worthy of existence

as myself


but it’s just a lie

they tell me to be kind

it’s a fake cuddle that actually says

that the memories rule

and I must obey,

ask no questions,

and remember to stay

only in the limited leftover space


An obeying little girl

that’s what I’m supposed to be…

submissive and careful…


not to touch anything

–you never know!–

I may spoil the memory.


That room is full of shadows

I turned on the light,

but I wasn’t even allowed

in there…

… I turn it off,

 close the door,

slip away…

… they’ll find out

I was there

they’ll decide

I was wild

they’ll eventually call me

disobedient child.


Poem published on Radix, McGill University spirituality magazine, 2017 Fall issue titled Exist. The 2017 Fall issue is available here, while the general information on the magazine is available here.

This poem is based on an Italian version titled Quella stanza con la carta da parati. If you know Italian, I suggest reading the Italian version, as I think it is remarkably better.


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