My Front Door with Art
Gorgon in Cameo
by Jennifer Finstrom

          Maybe there is more of the magical
          in the idea of a door than in the door
          itself.
                    “Doors opening, closing on us,” Marge Piercy

You lock yourself out of your apartment
about thirty days into shelter-in-place,
know as soon as the door shuts behind you
that your keys are on the floor. Since this
all began, you’ve given up the ritual that
had been part of locking the door when
you were going to work, wouldn’t have
forgotten your keys if you’d looked back
at the four small pictures that are the last
things you see as you’re leaving: drawings
of a rearing centauresse and two winged
Roman Genii, Pegasus in flight, and
the one you bought right after your divorce,
the head of Medusa in cameo, her snakes
small curls on her head. You daily asked her
to guard your place and guard your person,
but now no one is looking out for you, and
you’re here in the hallway with a winter
coat over your pajamas, on your way to
walk in the alley behind your building.
Last summer you went on a first date
for the first time in years, spoke a different
prayer as you were leaving, the words
“Army of witch queens, be with me” coming
unbidden. As you wait now for building
maintenance to let you back in, a new
prayer is taking shape. You want a different
life when this ends, but you’ll be so changed
that the words remain formless, and no
new or old door can yet open in response.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Last summer, I began a collection of ekphrastic poems about dating in my fifties. The direction of the poems is shifting in recent days amid the climate of uncertainty, but I’m still keeping on with the project.

Finstrom Picture

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Finstrom is both part-time faculty and staff at DePaul University. She was the poetry editor of Eclectica Magazine for 13 years, and recent publications include Dime Show Review, Eunoia Review, Stirring, and Thimble Literary Magazine, with work forthcoming in Gingerbread House Literary Magazine and  Rust + Moth. Her work also appears in Ides: A Collection of Poetry Chapbooks and several other Silver Birch Press anthologies.