The Open Door, A Top the Hill

I used to  think keys were simple things

just  broken brass bits we’ve decided should be useful.

I got one earlier today. it looks like a smile

whose teeth look like they’ve been eaten away by years of methamphetamine indulgence.


but no

somehow this new companion to my key-chain

this addition to my family of flashlights and figurines

is as complex as the lock he opens.


I received my gilded key

one fine spring’s day, as posies pushed their way up through the dirt to bloom

a gift from my love, a symbol of trust

something I’d earned without even realizing


of course, I was overjoyed, ecstatic.

a child given free reign in a candy shop

I tumbled down stairs, running headlong into doors

like a bird into glass


I ran to tell you

I thought you’d be so happy

That’d you look at my progress, see me finally atop the hill

And cheer


But this was not so

I dangled the key in front of you, a bright lure to a voracious fish.

And suddenly, you aged in front of me

Your smile a wizened rose, bowed silhouette.


you walked away from me then,

hearts darkened like nights with no stars.

I retreated upstairs then, that constellation of private rooms.

Was it a floor, or a solar system that separated us?


I expected you to come find me, too.

I used my newest trophy to my heart’s delight

and there in that sacred place, I left that door

open, up atop the hill, for us to enjoy together.


But you never came.

My sole solace was the steady hum of the incubator.

my only companions were the glass flasks at my hands

the only voice echoing in this open space was my own.


it hurts to know

that this simple key, this innocuous gift from an absent mind

Could part us so.


When will you return to me, precious one?

When will that evanescent scent of rice-paper envelope me again?

will those hazel upturned eyes ever look at me again?

Does this toothy key really signify so much?


some nights I wake up,

my mind a sea, and I’m the boat lost in the waves.

this constant battle between you both

cleaves me in two, leaves me staggering like bovine just stabbed for slaughter.


It’s been days.

Nature here has pulled her old treachery

The posies are buried in snow.

and here I sit still, atop the hill.


I used to think keys were simple things,

small silver slivers that we’d decided should be useful

I’ve realized: keys lock away, hide, protect,

all the sentiments that the sun was never meant to cast his judgmental glare upon.




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