THE HEART IS NOT A DOOR

MATTHEW ZAPRUDER

when the very old cat leaps from the last wooden stair
to the floor her left knee buckles
somehow gracefully she rises

already dispassionately into the distance
staring then limping off into the bedroom
all day she sleeps

her masters absent
helpless we are doing nothing watching her
hoping she lives through the weekend

and also realizing why people have things
it is very comfortable we also understand
exactly why they call steel stainless

the coffeemaker senses light and begins
making just enough noise so we notice
how quietly everything here in the suburbs

has landed exactly where it should
beige art on the walls
represents the space in my head my bare feet

through the luscious fibers of the carpet move
I stop at the screen door and stare
into the infinity pool whose waters

pour over the edges and flow
a green hose again makes the same arc
a whip striking clear blue water

I should go for a swim it’s my only chance
to hold my breath and open my eyes
later I drink some green wine then splash

some in the pan I am frying sweet multicolored peppers
when they get soft I toss them
with intricate curled pasta

I don’t know the name of and oil
pressed by hand from olives someone plucked
from old trees still growing

over the tomb of the twin founders of Rome
as they have for thousands of years
or so says the bottle

I have now been staring for at least several minutes
later I slip a blade into the razor
to feel cleaner but I don’t

my face stares back you grew up
in this sort of house exactly
part of the problem and have you noticed

everyone in their cars with their windows
proudly rolled all the way down
listens to the radio into the day

always with a male voice shouting the problem
inside the solution everyone said
was a plan we were warned would not work right away

was not caused by something we did
but we seem right away to have forgotten
and now we have a right

to be angry a right to our collective anger
this is what people say others talk
about old days everyone lived

on a hill before we were wounded they say
we don’t know what we want
I want to go to sleep again and wake

somewhere and turn on the faucet
without feeling as if I am destroying anything
and drink some coffee that doesn’t taste like blood

o you can try to be a peaceful shadow
you can but you never will be
you are not past all argument this is not

one of those movies that starts
with blue painted steps and ends
with everything meaning something definite

you can’t quite say but you leave the theater
knowing for a little while open your heart
doesn’t mean anything the heart is not a door

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