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Doors, by Maggie Nerz (Center City Workshop)

The door closing, my apartment door, with the lock I turn from the inside before bed. I lock it in the morning from the outside with my key, dressed for work, put together–a together woman with a job, a plan for what to do that day, a bag filled with books, papers, magazines, lists. I wonder if it is good to have a door to close behind me, something to lock my belongings behind.

The screen door slamming. My brother rushing out of the house yelling that my mother was not back with the car yet. I was a little girl, playing with my sister on a long piece of wood we had propped from the barn step to the ground. We must have been rolling something down the wood slab. That hot night I would be awakened by another sound–the phone ringing–my sister whispering urgently through my parents’ door: “There has been an accident.” The next morning there was the absence of doors closing, silence. I was sure it was a dream before I saw the blood-soaked shirt lying next to the washer.

Doors slamming, closing, shutting are never noises I prefer. I am caught up, perhaps imprisoned by the metaphor. What is good about an entryway being shut–about the locks that keep people out? What could be good about car doors that shut right before someone is about to drive away, taking them to places unknown, places where they could be broken or hurt or disappear behind their closed door for good?