Defensive

By John Popielaski

 

The idyll that is safe return

to what had been an unbreached home

is shattered, but you chisel

hinge seats on the new front door

and bore the holes for knob and deadbolt,

grateful you have dogs.

 

You take some comfort in the fact

that no thief crossed the threshold,

that the old door, battered,

held its own, the boot print

on the black paint like a trace

of desperation, of a human

stunned that it had come to this.

 

The thing to want now

is revenge or money or the door

behind which he will sit at some point

with a needle or a pipe,

a lost soul, you imagine,

droopy-eyed and drifting

from the force field of the earth.

 

But for the moment you are willing

to admire how the new door,

planed as if by one who’s practiced,

hangs more snugly than the old one

in the jamb, a slight improvement

in the history of fortification,

one that stalls your hollow longing

for the solace of a gun.

 


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