Door by Dana Levin

 

And then an uprush of air—
And then the cellar doors
        banging back,
the strong dusk light falling in
        like a stanchion,
a gold nail hammered through the blackened trees—
        Can you see it? You, psyche, burden,
friend? 
        This is the first time I can speak, the first time
I’ve seen you
        recede from the front in a fission of mist, the doors of this keep
flying open in the auric light—
        And I can smell

the green smell of straw
        puddled in urine, the musk of fur
coming up from the hutches, laid out in a row in the leaning
        light,
the blood smell of rust
        in the hinges of these open doors—
I want to look

        in the black deep and the golden light, if I had two faces
and could stand, always, at
        the distinction, on the wooden step
between the gold shaft and the cellar
        beneath me,
I could be like the eye in the center of my head—always to see and 
        never to enter, never to feel
the light pierce and the darkness snuff it,
        the darkness down and the light
pierce it,
        the exhausting round of wounding and healing, I don’t want
to feel, but can’t bear
        not feeling

the light swift through the cottonwood leaves, their edges enflamed
        but their bodies
in shadow, black spades oranged
        in the orange-gold light—
I don’t know how
        to get out of this beauty, I was shut up so long
in darkness and weeping,
        but here
the rabbits are black stones on fire in the grass, hurt
        because they’re lit, hurt
because they’re burning, as if the light is leaving
        thumbs of fire

on their curling bodies, on my feet as I stand
        between the sun and the cellar,
can you tell me if this
        is the place I must enter, to burn without consumption
in the ice-fired night?
        Will I burn from the inside out like a star,
will I burn from the outside in
        in wood-fire,
is it blaze,
        is it anguish,
to be the conscious sun that does not die,
        for isn’t life fire, living the human burning torch—

        And then a slight wind like a pointing finger,
        lifting toward the flame-struck field.

To learn more about Dana Levin, visit her website by clicking here, or her page on the Poetry Foundation’s website by clicking here.

This poem comes from In the Surgical Theatre.

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Below is the Rauchenberg piece that Danielle would stare at all day. It is titled “Renaissance, 1962”