The Space between the Stiles


Look beneath her pillow: no sachet,
just a cedar-smelling fist holding tight to air
and nothing else. In her dream it's the handle
in her palm turning, soundless, with no door to open.

The metal shines as if a light has cast upon it,
but there's no light illuminating. It's the same
as any other night, as any other dream she's had
since she started making doors.

Her hands have roughed from picking up the wood,
from hand-carving details in the boards.
The sander leaves a buzz inside her bones, as if the bees
who hived in logs have ghosts that fly at night.

Her millwork is unmatched: oak doors
eight feet tall to suit a home for giants,
custom shutters, balustrades that cascade
onto filigree that almost seems to curl.

Ornate and clean lines form the boundaries of her life:
doors that open into other worlds, in other homes,
with knobs of crystal, knobs of brass. The doors catch
the rooms; they hold the inside close like makers' hands.

The casings match the crowns in groove and light
that shines as if it cast upon itself,
so that each room glows on its own,
even in the dark, as if made from a dream.

Poem originally appeared in San Pedro River Review, Vol.6.1.