Elsewhere Door by Laura Grace Weldon

My sister and I run
through thigh-scratch grasses
in the field behind our house
wherever make-believe leads us.

In this realm of hum, buzz, scurry
waits scattered trash,
treasure for pirates and princesses.
Rotting boards against a tree
our spy’s lookout. Battered
paint cans our seats.

Until we find a dusty rectangle
where no thrumming green
grows. Stop playing. Wonder.
She squats in blue shorts,
brushes dirt away to discover
the space is a door,
flat against the ground,
rusty doorknob facing up,
as if a sky hand
might reach down and twist it.

What waits behind
an unopened door, one
left from time so ancient
we didn’t exist?
Steps leading down
to another world,
I guess. No,
she says, just junk.
Though I back away,
beg her not to,
she strains, lifting an edge
for one whole second.

She sees curled sowbugs,
shiny white roots,
an old door’s imprint on damp soil.

Terrified, I look away. But
a chill grabs my ankles,
squeezes my chest.
I almost fall into
a place so dark
I might never again
hear our mother
call us home for dinner.

 

Laura Grace Weldon is the author of a poetry collection titled Tending and a handbook of alternative education, Free Range Learning. She lives on a small farm where she’d get more done if she didn’t spend so much time reading library books, cooking weird things, and singing to livestock. Her poetry appears in various anthologies as well as J Journal, Literary Mama, Christian Science Monitor, Dressing Room Poetry Journal, Mom Egg Review, Red River Review, Penman Review, Shot Glass Journal, Pudding Magazine, and others. Connect with her at lauragraceweldon.com