Laura Kochman: A Door at the End of the Hall
A Door at the End of the Hall
Blowing the light out at the end of the hallway, opening the door.
A waxy yellow light.
Here I step carefully before the door.
May I be quiet, please, may I brush, may I breathe.
Here I bound baths and footsteps from objects I can’t quite remember, a vague collection of squares buzzing in the light.
I looked but I never touched.
A reverent knows where to kneel, how to slink down a side aisle toward a point of light, to look up, to know the body of myself exists outside of something, to know the door is a false image, to know the shape implies a space beyond it and a point of entrance.
I no longer read, but recognize the shapes of words, force my way into a misreading.
How far to stand back from a sculpture. The air buzzing around boundary.
How to read a square.
How to read the space around a canvas
She / by which I mean the anthropomorphic
Body of the State / cousin
She lay down on her elbows
parallel to the waves made herself a breakwater
to keep our sand city safe
coming in around the elastic edges sand and salt
into the wall we called a body
Where one continental plate subsumes another
is the site of a great invisible heat
Upon a transparency the cross section / easy
to make a wet red circle around each tidal zone
where the waves make one neat triangle
over the correspondent angle of more-solid shore
squeezing under like a flat hand
An Abundance of Small Realities
Pinned up, the surface of the wall is pocked
with windows each quick
edged print A thick strip of white sill
Memory of the season
She stands them all in a line and snaps it / Who is looking
Can I slip back, I’m thinking, to that gallery, if I’m not looking
The wall develops in the dark: several faces, a beach stoop, I am waiting.
I have to believe it happened
The past, in general
In through the aperture
One theory holds that the past does not exist, that the present is constantly created, that all our histories are placed behind us as we go / One theory invokes a watchmaker / One theory invokes he who is watched / One theory questions the genetic memory of the plant body
Memory of the jointed squares of sidewalk
One theory is impossible to evoke
One theory lurks around the edges
Light settling on a pack of cards
One queen is always upside-down and dark-eyed sleepless
Memory of a photograph
To stand in front of it again is the layer
of glass in the lens that holds
the light in
Editor's Note: These poems originally appeared on our old site.
Laura Kochman is originally from New Jersey, but currently lives, writes, and feeds her cat in Philadelphia. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alabama. Her work can be found in recent issues of Sundog Lit, Ghost Proposal, MiPoesias, La Vague, and others, and her chapbook, Future Skirt, was released from dancing girl press in the fall of 2013.