Pale House

You cannot and should not enter The House of the Inquisitor.
Its pale stone frontage with carved floral ornaments is locked
And uninviting. It was built in 1780 – so late! – when this town

Was larger than any in your country, a depot
Serving slave silver mines, two days distant,
That fed a cruel empire’s grind and grasping.

Small rooms remain in the basement, it’s said.
You’ve seen the implements of torture, the head screw.
Indigenous peoples clung to traces of their old faiths.

The prior house on your lot was bewitched, you learn.
Witches live along this street. They thrive beside
The stream like willows and will so long as water lasts.

–William Considine