Friday, August 16, 2013

The Threshold

by Jen Hunt, from the archives

I’m really not crazy, I tell you
But that door wasn’t open
Not last night anyway
Last night when I looked over my shoulder
As I plodded up bowed stairs toward a dark hallway
It was shut tight as a drum
Tight as my lips, my joints, my fist, my will

Open doors jar me
I know the kind of things that get in
If you’re not looking
The roaches
The rodents
The robbers
I could close it real easy

Most any other day, I would have closed it by now
But I can’t, you see
This morning when I woke
Out of the blackness and
Wandered down the same, sagged stairs
The sea sat
Where the door should be
So I sat down too, to watch
Hemmed by sun and sense

When I waved
The sea waved back
It waved back, I tell you

Now here I am
Lying, belly down on the welcome mat
Stretched clear out on the cobbled floor
Nostrils sucking the warm, dry air
Watching the glorious ocean

And I can’t close it
I don’t want to close it
Don’t you see?

All that used to keep me indoors—
The pretty sheers on narrow panes
The empty chairs
The empty corners—
Seems as nothing
Even worse than nothing
Like crap

So I’m ignoring the groaning hour hand
The quiet shelves
The encroaching, eggshell walls
Everything but the free and falling light

I’d like to say that I was a doorkeeper
Here, on my elbows, chin in hand
As I gaze out on the surf and
Blink in disbelief with each curling wave
To say that I was looking out for roaches
But I’m not
I’m thinking of better places than I’ve ever been

I don’t know why I’ve never done this before

I’m not crazy, I tell you
But that door wasn’t open yesterday
How could it have been? Stubborn will!

Who opened the door last night?
Who stirred the sea today?

Wind’s wrist turns sticking knobs
Wind’s gust churns Neptune’s waves

It seems impossibly bright
Has the whole world changed overnight?

Or have I?