By Hugh Behm-Steinberg

See the door walk out on your man?

Just lifting itself off its hinges.

You stare through the frame,

not sure how it could happen.

How the event and its happening

are now parallel, and receding,

until they meet in the distance

and disappear.


Now your man’s looking at you,

then at your feet on the rug.

And soon you think

maybe the door went back

to the lumberyard,

to marry the saw

that wants to chop it in two,

or deep into the forest;

maybe a buck right now

is knocking its head against it,

and the door is happy again,

to let no one out, no one in.

Maybe it followed the dog.


So your man gets another door,

with a lock and brass hinges,

this time he comes home and it’s

the house that’s gone, and the door

lying flat with all the furniture

on the concrete slab.


No one heard it happen,

(you didn’t hear it happen)

no one saw it go (you didn’t

see it go), maybe it was dark,

you tell your man, maybe it’s

in Mexico, just another house

in a long line of buildings

going home.


Or maybe the house

was secretly a boat,

and it’s floating under a lake.

Maybe it was haunted,

and it’s hiding inside a church.

Maybe it was a star,

and it’s burning in the sky

right now.  You know it

makes your man angry, but

you can’t stop laughing.


So your man gets another house,

and he ties everything down,

and you’re there all alone,

drinking tea with a rope

around your foot, just in

case you get the wrong idea.


And your man calls all the time,

so much you answer the phone

before it rings.  But like

it was supposed to happen,

it happens.  One morning

the ropes untie themselves,

This time you open the door,

not just to let them out.

You follow them home

to the banks of a river.

They swim away like eels.


Your man looks for you everywhere.

You never see him again.


Good for you.


Hugh Behm-Steinberg is the author of Shy Green Fields (No Tell Books) and two Dusie chapbooks, Sorcery and Good Morning!  His poems have appeared in such places as Crowd, VeRT, Volt, Spork, Cue, Slope, Aught, Fence, Swerve, dirt, ditch, Zeek and Sweet, as well as a few places with more than one syllable.  He teaches writing at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, where he edits the journal Eleven Eleven.

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