PARABLE OF THE DOOR
You tell what’s on the other side of the door
by the odor of the door.
There are rules to this game, you feel sure.
You tap the crumbling edge
of the off-season Olympic pool
impatiently, with the toe of your left foot.
All around you, fossil fuels are being liberated
from the crushing burden of use.
You want to be responsible for things
that are necessary, things nobody else does:
finishing the potato cannon. Wearing white
at unfashionable moments, like funerals.
For there to be a funeral, someone must die—
That’s one rule, you’re guessing. And
the politicians at the viewing, all crowded
around the little tables, with their little trays
of credit cards and baked brie with honey.
You get as close as you can to the door.
You don’t smell anything, but maybe
there’s a sort of humming noise
coming from the other side. You’re not sure.
All the photographs in your wallet are of
politicians, honey running down their chins,
and of you, with your mouth sewn shut.
You’re waiting for someone,
for the right season, only there’s this terrible
pressure coming from somewhere.
Your swimsuit feels tight. It’s winter.
You pretend there are orders at the factories.
I want what you’ve got in your hands.