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Online Feature: “Doom is the House without the Door” by Jennifer Chang

More than once you wanted me to die.
I kicked the door until its hinges popped.

I collapsed in particle board dust.
I am a sort of door: I know how to swing open

and slam shut. I know how to lock.
You want the house. You want the last crumb

of soul I have left, but I don’t die. I don’t have a body.
I have an elm, fracturing limb by furious limb.

Our tornado summer. My weekly storm,
the heretic assailing the saint.

To swing open: 98º in the barn shade.
To slam shut: you sleep through my glory,

this dawn-constructed confession. To lock:
I do not know. I do not know how

to fill the smallest rooms. Once the sky
could forestall the revelation of the future,

but now I am an orchard forsaken. Ardent.
Ungovernable. Dead branch, fruitlessness, reach

for what I cannot. Not who you were or are,
but who you wanted to be. A wise thing

growing wiser. Ageless heart. To want
was the first survival. To be, the last.

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This poem appeared in Indiana Review 34.2, Winter 2012. 

Emily Corwin (Poetry Editor):  “Doom Is the House without the Door” gorgeously navigates the dissolve of a relationship and its aftermath. Like the repeated imagery of doors in the poem, Chang’s speaker hinges and stops, back and forth, ever reeling towards this feeling of disaster, loss, a storm to be survived.

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Jennifer Chang is the author of two books of poetry, The History jennifer-changof Anonymity and Some Say the Lark, which will be published by Alice James Books in October 2017. Her recent work has appeared in American Poetry Review, A Public Space, Orion, Narrative, and Poetry. She is an assistant professor of English and creative writing at George Washington University and lives in Washington, DC.

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