I found a key
In the street, someone’s
Lying there, glinting.
I found a key
though I found nothing else
that belonged to me.
Thought I might have wanted
to find nothing, finding some-
thing seemed to be my lot
so I accepted it with bonhomie
and put the key in my pocket,
drawing blood as I fingered its grooves,
and went wandering
in the street. Someone’s
right of entry burning a hole in my
pocket (loud as a saxophone)
against the other keys I’ve found
no lock for. Bur for this uncommon
connection, my pockets would have
been empty except for a handgun,
cocked, five shells full, silver glint
of its barrel and trigger
as tempting as a
if only bullets could open the doors
that reveal the patterns in my lunacy.
But neither gun nor key can unfasten
ambiguities or unearth our souls—
they are fallible; they wither in the sun.
The unknown is a shade of verdigris
that is rotting, rotting to dust
in my hand where once, I held a key,
plucked from the street as it was
lying there, glinting,
taunting me to unbuckle what can’t be
unbuckled. But I found a pigeon-wing
laying on the very same street. It had
lost its pigeon but some gloss remained
in each of its clay-white feathers, she
perhaps, at the time of its molting.
And perhaps that was a kind of key.
So I put one quill in my pocket and went,
having nothing else that belongs to me.
I stick my nose in your business.
You look in my window and learn
I’m almost always nude when I bathe
and everything’s far from there.
It takes days, sometimes years,
for the cleansing to arrive.
The full, forgetting moon is no guide
and earthquakes only shake.
It’s always the season for a break-
through if you don’t believe sun
glows like a moon; that today isn’t
like every other season of flies.
Right now, they cling to your screen
door, dead-legged, backlit by stars.
Dear Season, dear Salt-
&-Scofflaw—I’m a crook
wearing six crooked smiles—
bringing great jubilee into
any quick-quick-quick or
caught in our throats—mid-
night under our open skin—
one beautiful egg in the hay
as blue as every explanation.
Beg No Pardon won the 2007 Perugia Press First Book Award and
2008 Great Lakes Colleges New Writers Award. Her poetry has appeared in the Indiana
Review, Crab Orchard Review, Southeast Review, Margie , Sou’Wester, and Ploughshares, among other journals. Contact author.