A Door, Prone, Crushing a Field of Flowers

Michael Schmeltzer

I am like a door unhinged.
Stand me anywhere, and I’ll open
to new space.

Lay me down
again on your body,
and we will open

to the bodies of daughters.
Or place me prone
in a field of wild flowers,

and I will reveal a hole in the earth
so we will know
the bottom of blooms,

their intricate network of roots.
Secrets like that
are both rare and pointless

for people like us
who are neither wild
nor in need.

I am at my threshold.
The dirt of our daughter.
The mole of her squirming body.  

She watches a show about a man
who captures a yellow jacket,
a tarantula hawk, a bullet ant

all for the sake of their sting.
He presses them to his forearm.
We watch him

writhe, then later describe
the specific pain
each inflicts.

Before anyone wakes
I watch it again.
I am at the end

of his suffering.
The stings, the screams, the swollen,
red wounds—

how we react to the anguish
we heap upon ourselves—
that is knowledge worth knowing.