Posted tagged ‘In the night closet poem’


September 27, 2013



When I was small, I saw menace
in my bedroom closet most mid-nights,
the silhouette of vacuum cleaner
draped by Sunday School dress
taking flesh.

In terror, I called to my dad, who stumped
from my parents’ room, legs stiff
with varicose sleep, while my feet
never felt so light, two bright arrows darting
across the bows of safe passage.

Now that I am old,
menace haunts me
more directly.
Silhouettes of past acts lump
into embered coals, sit unswallowable
yet still swallowed in ribs’ grate; inadequacy
plays me like a cellist high on crack; and,
in the wakeful darkness that substitutes
for inner eyelid, I pray for a father–someone who, like mine,
will signal me into the haven of all okay.

I hook remembered words like hallowed charms,
new ones like “may peace,”
onto the shorting links of a heart that must be unwound,
uncloseted, pried hard, to make way for even a slip
of grace.

I pray, if there isn’t a father, that my call alone
might take me by the hand, but I pray
to a father.

Here’s a poem still-in-progress written for Victoria C. Slotto’s prompt on dVerse Poets Pub to write about something difficult, using imagery. (I don’t know about the imagery.)

I hope the poem is not seen as sexist. The place I’d run to when my father saved me was my mom’s twin bed. (Twin beds–their marriage started in the fifties.) But I was raised in a Judeo-Christian tradition, and was not Catholic, so I can’t help thinking in these kinds of terms. Also, my own father was a particularly nurturing person, the most loving I can imagine. I miss him every day.