The door to the past is a strange door. It swings open and things pass through it, but they pass in one direction only. No man can return across that threshold, though he can look down still and see the green light waver in the weeds.

          Loren Eiseley

A door opens in the wilderness.
People cross through it—bloused women families
Acquaintances friends all the ones I have loved
Sleep-walkers night-walkers each dazed and shorn—
Street aurous with ice, a snowfall scratched into
Moons—and everything I’d known—
Inside the bleak floating light of my lungs
In the capillaries of my eyes a blood
Glancing through the hatches—
If I said I would always be grateful
If I lied or touched with spite
If night is just a foamline of shadows
Though we were both lost—the door
Opening—the fear of being shown
Whole to the one who must love you still
And stopped as if on a walk to say
Look at that and what matters what really counts
And I’ll tell you everything if you promise I promise
I stood at door and behind me heard
Snow-plows scrape against roads
At the center of night—unknown to yourself
And the word I said out-loud to no one
That meant it was all to no purpose
The word for the desire inside destruction
For everything that can never be brought back—
Loose snow blown hard to each bank
And the common reel of those who
To avoid one extreme rush toward its opposite—
Snow blasted to piles—and never opened up to
Anything that could reach me until you reached me—
Which hours belonged to us
When was I unknowingly alone
Why did you always return to walk here a path
Behind my closed eyes shedding salt
Dry snowfall and sticks—still were you here
With me I might say The moon rose in the casement window
The red-haired boy across the street has learned to ride his bike
There are still picnics there are fountains
And the world I am leaving behind says
One learns to see one learns to be kind—
I closed my eyes I closed my hands
I shut down the fields in my arms
The cattle on the plains veins ditches
Blue ravines a gray bird
Sailing through a poplar brake kids
Throwing snow I closed the last swinging juncos
Sheep wool caught on barbed wire I closed
Fumes and clear patches of sky I seized
The river the town I shut down
The hard muscles of sleep farmlands
Warming under midnight salt-lights scruff-pines
On the ridge animals scattering across slopes I closed
The smooth bone of evening a storm
On the hills white and noiseless spindled
Prairies where I was born I shut I seized
The clouds I closed in anger—fervor—ardor

"Raptus" from Raptus by Joanna Klink, copyright © 2010 by Joanna Klink.  Used by permission of Penguin Books, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. 
More Poems by Joanna Klink