Back to Issue Forty-Six



“Not knowing when the dawn may come, I open every door.” —Emily Dickinson


Every coffin starts with a door.
Every incinerator, too.
But before I cross that final threshold,
end up a hotel for worms, or scattered,
like wedding petals, into the sea, my new bride,
greet with me, all the doors eager to let us in

the electric slide of your local grocery store, welcome.
the glass door of your favorite hole-in-the-wall deli and their wreath
of jingle bells that chimes with every entrance, welcome.
welcome, actual hole in the wall in my bathroom, small portal to nowhere.
welcome, warm ka-chunk of the dryer. the clouds opening themselves
to let in the rain. welcome, rain. the closet door you’ve hid behind
finally off its hinges, welcome. the acceptance letter that gave you permission
to walk out of the town you were raised in and never look back, welcome.
the useless keyhole–door within a door–and the light it smuggles for your eye
the wet gate you were pulled from, small and screaming, welcome.
the koi fish circling in the pond, the gasping halo of their mouths,
like the one you made when you were finally old enough
to blow out your candles in a single breath, your single breath
an escape hatch for all your wishes, welcome.
I kiss you and you say, come in, I secret knock a stone
across the lake and the water accepts it like communion.
the bullet that may one day coax moonlight through a door
it carves in my body is—
no, shut that metaphor. we’re not there
yet. the split egg on the skillet, the window
open for the summer breeze, the first time you heard
your favorite song pry into you like a secret.
Meg says the doors are everywhere if you look for them, and they are.

Jonny Teklit is a recipient of the 2019 Aliki Perroti and Seth Young Most Promising Young Poet Award. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Academy of American Poets, Catapult, and elsewhere. He is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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