The Open Door

By. Alan Shapiro

For Peggy Rabb

What did it mean when she said at last, “All day I

have been running to the open door”—

What door was it she ran to, opening to what?

From what? And did she reach it and get through?

No one was there with her, it seems, inside or out, no

one she mentioned, no solving light or phantoms

calling in parental voices, urging her

to come, child, run; and that she ran “all day”—

was that the joy of being able now

to run in some way none of us could see, a

bodiless release imagining a body

if only to feel how free of it she was?

Or was it desperate running, running to

get out of the nightmare room that was all day

uncrossable, the door like a horizon

a stride away with every stride she took?

And if she reached it, running, what did it feel like

then, that moment, being nothing but

the motion of herself without herself,

over that threshold into nothing else?

Alan Shapiro will publish two books in 2012: Broadway Baby, a novel from Algonquin Books, and Night of the Republic, a book of poems, from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Originally appeared in NOR 11.

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