Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Won Exit

In one or two lives 
I opened the door with the prize
only to find the prize was not worth the life.
 
I wanted the door.
 
Brave mahogany door, you be my fortune.
Teach me to understand the jungle cry 
in your grain, the suffering circles 
 
by which your tree wisdom is known.
 
I was superior with handles,
gentle with thresholds. Then, this.
 
Choices at morning hours I usually skip
but there is a little cash flow of beauty
where there is almost no more water.
 
And there is not room and light enough
to stand behind the second 
and listen anymore—
 
I am going through the language of me now.
 
I am flipping open the dictionary of myself
with my tongue, as if that were possible,
to find your first word. 
 
In the torture of a foyer 
doorless for entering, I am entering none.
 

Credit


Copyright © 2017 by Elizabeth Metzger. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 24, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem


“‘Won Exit’ came to me verbatim in sleep, and I groggily typed and lineated it at 4 a.m. on my phone. After a placental abruption kept me bedridden for nearly my whole pregnancy, life still feels like a series of nearly impossible entrances and exits. I think this poem arises from that experience, as well as from the species-deep urgency I feel after communicating with my infant son all day: to invent language, to learn to speak again.”
—Elizabeth Metzger
 

Author


Elizabeth Metzger

Elizabeth Metzger is the author of The Spirit Papers (University of Massachusetts Press, 2017). 

Date Published: 2017-10-24

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/won-exit