The House of Sixteen Doors

The cockroaches come, wriggling out
of drains, searching for sugar

in droplets of Malbec between the kitchen
and garden. We are on Neruda’s terrace

and he is reading his poems. Reading them into
the sky, the flora, the stone floor, and all of these

eternities we dream up. Half hidden
in the shade of drooping vines, the black dog sleeps.

Like omens, buses screech to hard halts,
like poems and dreams, I know, Neruda says,

of love that is slow and difficult. Isles where
we will wait awhile, but perhaps

we don’t know what we’re looking for.
His house has sixteen doors, I’ve counted.

Winds blow, doors slam,
that omen

reaching out past the shadows
of shadows. The dog scrambles behind me.

Noise and silence press against
the other like young lovers

still unable to name their fear.
In the aftermath

majesty palms and jasmine vines
blooming summer solstice

on the opposite hemisphere
as if to search into another world

for answers
or questions

we walk through the house

if all the doors
have already slammed shut.


Outside In Magazine | Spring 2013