door diamond window

Waiting for Chekov
by MK Sturdevant

 *TRIGORIN: Anyone could walk in here. (helps her up).

It isn’t closed exactly, if through the diamond window the light can shoot through most afternoons. What to do. There is nothing to do. Standing up might be something. Looking through the diamond not at it, something more. The prairies are coming back in some places. I could tell my mom, my sister, but no one can come. I seem content here, in the light, playing off the wall in this tiny foyer. I seem content in it, in life, housed in a life, we seem. Doors seem. They say, come in! This is where you come in! But if they can’t prevent you, if they can’t lock you out, they’re broken. A door says come it says stop. I say nothing, illuminated finally not by an answer but an impasse. I’m in a camera with a diamond pinhole. I am the subject. I am not open, exactly. This girl, glowing, in here, me, herself, is not as tall as the door, not as closed, but I too give you all merely a window. You see the trunk of a man, maybe you think I want you. You smell the milk of me, you recoil. I was once given a man made of flesh and keys. I stayed shut. Is there a view of the lake? It’s too hot. None of you make any sense! I know it’s snowing! A vodka—and hurry.

*TREPLEV: No one’s going to come in.

I know that, child. What year is this? It’s not surrealism. This is just nothing coming nothing going. Words float. If there is no one here to hear them assembled, is there any order at all? Air! Give me air. I am not some desperate object. Air!

*Anton Chekov, The Seagull. Trns. Curt Columbus. Ivan R. Dee, Publisher. Chicago: 2005.

NOTE FROM  THE AUTHOR: The feeling of time passing so slowly while stuck inside with family members and waiting for news, just has a Russian-play feel to it. It also is increasingly unclear to me (during quarantine) whether things people say are comedy or tragedy. In this way, a door, being open and shut, an invitation and denial, and the same thing every day yet full of possibility, seemed like a perfect way to tap into some Chekov, and see if I could find some company.

door portrait

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MK Sturdevant’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Orion, Flyway, Newfound, Kestrel, Alluvian, the Lily Poetry Review, Tiny Seed Journal, and elsewhere. She was a finalist for the 2019 Montana Prize in Fiction, and is a reader for The Maine Review. She teaches philosophy in the Chicago area. Follow her on twitter @mksturdevant.