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At The Door Analysis

Author: poem of David Wagoner Type: poem Views: 8

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All actors look for them-the defining moments

When what a character does is what he is.

The script may say, He goes to the door

And exits or She goes out the door stage left.

But you see your fingers touching the doorknob,

Closing around it, turning it

As if by themselves. The latch slides

Out of the strike-plate, the door swings on its hinges,

And you're about to take that step

Over the threshold into a different light.

For the audience, you may simply be

Disappearing from the scene, yet in those few seconds

You can reach for the knob as the last object on earth

You wanted to touch. Or you can take it

Warmly like the hand your father offered

Once in forgiveness and afterward

Kept to himself.

Or you can stand there briefly, as bewildered

As by the door of a walk-in time-lock safe,

Stand there and stare

At the whole concept of shutness, like a rat

Whose maze has been rebaffled overnight,

Stand still and quiver, unable to turn

Around or go left or right.

Or you can grasp it with a sly, soundless discretion,

Open it inch by inch, testing each fraction

Of torque on the spindles, on tiptoe

Slip yourself through the upright slot

And press the lock-stile silently

Back into its frame.

Or you can use your shoulder

Or the hard heel of your shoe

And a leg-thrust to break it open.

Or you can approach the door as if accustomed

To having all barriers open by themselves.

You can wrench aside

This unauthorized interruption of your progress

And then leave it ajar

For others to do with as they may see fit.

Or you can stand at ease

And give the impression you can see through

This door or any door and have no need

To take your physical self to the other side.

Or you can turn the knob as if at last

Nothing could please you more, your body language

Filled with expectations of joy at where you're going,

Holding yourself momentarily in the posture

Of an awestruck pilgrim at the gate-though you know

You'll only be stepping out against the scrim

Or a wobbly flat daubed with a landscape,

A scribble of leaves, a hint of flowers,

The bare suggestion of a garden.


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