You must build doors

to invite people in

 

is what they’ve told me

since the funeral,

 

but these are coddled,

runny-hearted

 

idiots, the open

floor plans of people.

 

They lust after beige:

plush-carpet beige,

 

nice and wanting

nothing. What I want

 

is to pause

for caterpillars

 

and talk to them

like we talked

 

to her in hospice.

You look for twigs

 

to coax them

to grass, deliver them

 

from the threat

of neighborhood kids

 

who love nothing

inside their rooms

 

and would murder

for candy, or pets

 

they would let die.

They are too young

 

to love a better way.

To close these doors

 

built to nowhere,

doors flung open

 

just for them

to hurtle through.

 

Emily Kingery

Emily Kingery is an Associate Professor of English at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, where she teaches courses in literature, writing, and linguistics. Her work appears or is forthcoming in multiple literary journals, including Eastern Iowa Review, Gingerbread House, High Shelf Press, New South, PROEM, Prometheus Dreaming, Quercus, and Telepoem Booth, and she has been a Pushcart Prize nominee. She serves on the Board of Directors at the Midwest Writing Center, a non-profit organization that supports writers in the Quad Cities community.

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