A memory of life before
“Shelter-in-Place” became the norm
rings the doorbell,
then rings it again as if forgetting
it had already rung it once.
The man on the inside
of the door peeks through
the peephole, his pupil shrinking
in a pinpoint of light,
then dilating at the sight
of the memory waiting to come in.
The man sees something familiar
in the face of the memory
that leans closer to the door
as if trying to hear
if there is anyone at home,
but he steps back nevertheless,
unsure of whether to welcome
the memory in or send it packing
with a warning to never come back.
The man stares into
the mirror hanging next to the door,
but the reflection on the other side
just stares back, blank-faced,
unable, or unwilling, to help.
The doorbell rings again.
The man inches up to the peephole
for one more look. With a blink
he tightens his focus on nothing
but a tempting yet empty
patch of sunlight.
Someone steps out of my body
muttering that the time has come
to live his own life. My shadow
pools under my feet, formless,
hopeless, unable to unloose
itself and join the person who has
declared his independence
from me. I take one last deep breath
and sink into a darkness
not of my own making.
Kip Knott’s work has recently appeared in The American Journal of Poetry, The Ekphrasis Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review. His full-length book of poetry, Tragedy, Ecstasy, Doom, and so on, is forthcoming later this year from Kelsay Books. More of his work can be accessed at www.kipknott.com.