Open Door Policy
by Shahé Mankerian

I locked the door and placed
my palm on the poster, Fight
Evil with Poetry, held by magnets

of marginalized finger puppets.
I closed my eyes and heard
wily ghosts of bygone children

recite haikus, pitter patter of feet
in the empty hallways,
and a distant scuffle in front

of the water fountain. A forgotten
plate of hummus leaked oil
on the word processor.

The AC unit hummed for no one.
If I had decided to close this door
in February, a child from blue

class might’ve assumed I was dead.
Maybe he went to heaven, drank
coffee, and started a new school.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Poet Shahé Mankerian is the principal of St. Gregory Hovsepian School in Pasadena, California. His manuscript, History of Forgetfulness, has been a finalist at the Bibby First Book Competition, the Crab Orchard Poetry Open Competition, the Quercus Review Press Poetry Book Award, and the White Pine Press Poetry Prize. Shahé received the 2017 Editors’ Prize from MARY: A Journal of New Writing.