the door         3/12/17

just one more step

just one more step

to see the door

those ten short feet seem like a hundred

through a lurking alligator

snapping snapping filled swamp

 

just one more step

one more step to be a little closer

just one more step

the floor, hot coals

feet, bare

every step burns

smell my burning flesh

just in the mind

that’s truth, that’s true

 

the door, so solid

hearing the street beyond

sounds of clutter

sounds of confusion

so many locks to keep the confusion out

so safe and warm inside

fingers touch the handle but recoils

so cold

weakness overcomes

can’t go on

can’t

 

a minute  passes then another

the bolted locks impassable

the icy handle painful to the touch

 

death is cold

imagined death to be cold

lying on a street in winter

at night all alone

the last image

a streetlight with passing drizzle

will not die today, not today

although it is winter

will not be out long

just to the store

just to the store and back

 

no food

found some beans the other day

but they are gone

and they are gone

 

and so the door

one deep breath to lift the hand

it is so heavy

it doesn’t feel like mine

need concentration and encouragement

can do it

just get to the lock

to the lock

 

finally it is there

does it turn to the right or to the left

what if that is wrong

a wrong decision will double confusion

with each wrong decision

until the gods themselves will wreak havoc

to the left

it must be to the left

oh god why do you torment

why call to him

his back eternally turned to this world

 

a leap of faith

a leap no faith

turn it left

it unlocks

 

panic

only one more lock and the outside will come rushing in

won’t be able to stop the pain and suffering

of the running rushing people

too busy with their distractions

to notice death approaching

 

forehead touches the door

strength has abandoned

close eyes and breathe

just one more lock

one more lock

 

open eyes

and push away from the door

with all the strength left

staring at the bottom lock

to the right or to the left

was it the same or opposite

close eyes

 

can’t go on

must go on

am the unnamable

the hidden ones

behind doors

not wanted

not needed

will not be missed

buried along with my name

 

to the right, to the right

the locks are opposite

yin yang

light dark

good evil

another lock opens

relief

 

then panic

cannot do this

there are crackers

can eat crackers for a day or two

damn it damn it damn it

turns the handle

the cold icy handle

burning burning

the tightly gripping hand

the door opens and abruptly stops

the clank of the unreleased door chain

and the jolt the hand feels as the handle rips free

courage dissipates

 

what is he doing

what is he doing

what was he thinking

tears explode from his eyes

breath has left him

cannot breathe

cannot breathe

sink to the floor

tears continue

they will not stop

they will not ever stop

hear his cries

like from a distant hillside

too far away to be my own

but closer and closer it flies

until it strikes

knocking him over

with the force of a gunshot

 

the floor is safe

the floor is safe

cannot fall any further

will not fall any more

 

bleeding tears until the eyes can bleed no more

and the unheard cries fade into whimpers

as they often do

stay on the protected floor forever

but the door is still open

a little crack for vermin to enter

cannot move

paralyzed with fear and exhaustion

staring at the small ray of daylight coming through the door

waiting for the end

the end does not come

not yet

condemned to suffer longer

just a little longer

and that gives hope

the end will soon come

soon the pain will end

 

an hour quickly passes

before movement is possible

pushing  up

then on to hands and knees

reaching up to the handle of the door

for balance

pulling upright

one foot then the other

uneasy being upright

too high for my shaky legs

 

just balance

just balance a moment more

locks to the left

locks to the right

leaning against the door

no more strength

 

need to get back to bed

covered with warmth and safety

under blanket and blanket and blanket

in that darkened room

it is so far away

down the hall

and to the right

 

a journey of a thousand miles

begins with a single step

a single step

just one more step

just one more step.

 

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About oxrider

Mr. Winter has written novels, books of poetry and short stories, and books on acting. He has written over three dozen plays, winning the S.C. Playwright’s Festival. His inventive theatrical work has been seen in the US and Europe. A.F. Winter has been acting, teaching, and directing, for over 30 years. He created a theatre which worked with at-risk youth giving them positive alternatives in their lives. Please visit his website at AFWinter.com. View all posts by oxrider

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