Anne-Marie Fyfe's poems have long dwelt on the role that the spaces we inhabit, the places in which we find security, play in our lives: House of Small Absences is an observation window into strange, unsettling spaces - a deserted stage-set, our own personalised 'museum', a Piedmont albergo, underground cities, Midtown roof-gardens, convent orchards, houseboats, a foldaway circus, a Romanian sleeper-carriage - the familiar rendered uncanny through the distorting lenses of distance and life's exigencies, its inevitable lettings-go - The book opens with 'The Red Aeroplane' where witnessing an apparent plane crash sparks a vertiginous sequence of image and memory, 'the way sureties tilt and untangle'. We know that we will follow the author in exploring not just specific places and memories but the 'exponential function of tangents', all that is implied and suggested. Some poems beguile with mysterious pageants or processions. 'Honey and Wild Locusts' offers us a curious inventory of objects: 'in-patients' marching in 'Florentine masks' and 'beekeeper veils'. These baroque surfaces are both satire and demonstration of a complicated 21st century full of dark conflicts and temptations.Liminal states, such as the insomnia permeating 'The Outer Provinces of Sleep', also suit the peculiar physics of these dream-like poetic rooms. There are also a series of shorter poems that, in a direct tone of address, simpler language and intent, counterpoint the richness and density of the longer poems. These, such as 'Winnower' speak to an opposing pragmatic viewpoint: "Everyone can use a listener, who/ won't demur, pass judgement, won't/ agree necessarily." There is a winning intimacy to these shorter poems, they clear our palates and prepare us for the longer, more involved set pieces with all of their carefully delineated and often darkly gorgeous imagery such as the terrifying bees in 'Before the Swarm': "The cloud-level shoal with their vivid insignia".