front door mermaid
by Alice Venessa Bever

My front door is the edge of the sea:
I come to it, quickly, cautiously, without remorse.

I walk up the volcanic 106 steps, 400 years old to the creaking metal gate. I smell espresso.
I run from Grandma’s carport to the swinging frame which acts as the front door. It also needs oil.
I take two blue carpeted stairs at a time of a building was built in Thatcher’s England. He folds my laundry.

Beyond, beyond, beyond:
a portal, a wait
          to return and to welcome.

(I have never had a front door that belongs only to me
yet I (always) have belonged to it).

This front door,

it is a beckoning, a reckoning:

          come home;

“Walk out of the boat to the shore.”

These doors don’t open to the melody of “Homeward Bound”.

They reveal themselves to the sound of
          the “O” in “Oh my” (or the way her lips make the shape)
or the embrace that was taller and then shorter and now even shorter
(five years and she’ll be 100)

          a hug and a “did you shut the door?”

This door is full of fingerprints and imperfections, smudges and arguments, surprises and homecomings,

forever goodbyes,

Leaping and sliding and stumbling into slipping time.

My front door belongs to all the invited ones (the loves).

“My door is always open”

My front door belongs to the now uninvited ones
(they had to leave the way they came in).

“Take care.”

Facing front, this door is
          part memory, part gift.

And “when this is all over”
          (even war is never quite over),

There might be new shores and shaking sea legs.

And “when this is all over”
          (we know the birds are wiser),

There might be love waiting at the water’s edge.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: As I am in the process of lots of change due to the virus and am not currently living at my home, this particular subject resonates in a unique way: where is my front door?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alice Venessa Bever likes to write, direct, perform, and cook. Most recently she published an article for the German magazine Dreigroschenheft about her experiences remote directing for the Brechtfestival in Augsburg, Germany, in February 2020 which was considered an experiment three months ago. This year she also published a few ESL books — she also teaches English and translates. She might call Naples, Italy, home although she is currently staying in England due to Covid-19 (long story). She was born in Redwood City, California — a city she has never lived in or visited once since that date. She is currently writing a novel/love letter for and about her generation — Find her at