My poem What-or-Who? in the Silver Birch Press series My Front Door, appears today on their site. Thank you, Silver Birch Press!
by Carol A. Stephen
A simple knock at the front door
in a tempo of anybody-home?
segues to an urgency of fist
against steel, a tremor of glass,
an I-know-you’re-in-there! pounding.
I stop halfway down the stairs, curiosity
elbowed away by fear of what-I’ll-find
when I turn the handle, release the lock—
I tiptoe over tiles, slide slowly into
the windowed room beside the door,
turn louvered blinds to crack daylight:
what-or-who is hammering outside?
I see only a cast shadow, someone standing
too close to the door to be seen.
A long-dead-grandmother voice whispers
Never open the door to strangers.
I tremble behind concealing blinds
in a sweat of what-comes-next
remembering the family rules:
Don’t ever trust other women.
Pretend that you’re not home, and—sssshhh!
Never tell your mother grandma’s secrets.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: What-or-Who? was inspired by a childhood memory of my grandmother, who…
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