local_library Behind My Door

by Allison Jenks

Published in Issue No. 3 ~ April, 1996

I know it’s you
Behind my door
Standing like Cairo
with a lean black panther

You got in your car
coming for me no matter how
far you had to go.

Copper rain swallowing your
brain cells
like it did when
I first kissed you in a new place
I can’t remember,
Only that it was new
and I’ve never gone back.

Your starving white mask is
waiting for the lining of my face
to enhance the dullness of your earth.

Don’t you feel ridiculous for being here?
Don’t you know that
the colors are under the lining now?

I know if I let him in
I’ll be able to deduct passion again.

My skeletal tact has obliterated me.
I know he can touch me like he’s
slept next to me for fifty years.
I can pretend I’m not home.
The stakes follow me, laughing vigorously.

I open the door and look but I don’t
let him in.
The horrible feeling is back.
I’m ejected from my own endurance.

Tempted and assaulted by the
absence of worry in his face.

He smiles at me like
he was on the plane
when I flew to other countries
for the opening nights of operas,

Sitting inside me and underneath
my companion’s hand as he held it
Forbidding the tightness of certainty

As I sat cross-legged in a sexy dress
in front of royal pianos in candle-lit rooms
he thinks he was the flightiness of the melody

A rowdy young boy who knew he had something
so feverish and good that he’d never tell anyone
too much about it.

Men have come to me with their circuses
of wealth and dressed up words.

I’ve slept on coastal beaches,
Waking to fruit and wine
as you were in Australia and China
kissing pretty girls with a force
way less than the one
you kiss me with, right?

Was I really the purest branch of emotion in you?

You were gone this whole time-

Mutilating me with the anchor of your absence.
Why are you sure that it was the thread
of that one kiss you sewed up in me
that kept you with me all this time-
Invigorating the corners of my Xanadu smile?

I let him in,
Craving to mimic the sly frown
used on me by an old adversary
So I can seem unwilling.

I’m shamefully chilled just by his luxury.
The taste of French wine on his tongue
His ivory colored shirt showing
part of his scented chest.

I’m exposed. That makes me erratic.

You ships dazzling dancers into my soul
Crowding me with all the times I let you interfere.
I’ve worn this subdued look before on tarnished
I know I’m gonna let you do it again-
Burnish my life with that tough harmony
That no one else could ever match.

Then you’ll get back in your junky car
and take the hazy brick streets back
to your world of inaccurate senses
and sleepy television afternoons.

You know you’ve settled. You idiot
How could you be okay with that?

Go right ahead and leave me stuck
in the shapelessly long way that I love you
And finish suffocating for it
until you’re dead.

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Allison Jenks' poems have appeared in : New Orleans Review, Art Times, Wisconsin Review, American Literary Review, and Midwest Poetry Review. She was a James A. Michener fellow, awarded by John Balaban, at the University of Miami's M.F.A. program, where she was Editor In Chief of Mangrove.