106

April 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

Home is arbitrary when you keep on
Turning keys, keep on pushing locks.
But even the changing place has
A moment that quietly repeats itself

As in last week, I come home. That day
Home could have been that wooden building
Or the brick one down.
It could have been dark, but this is
The city and we prefer the lights on.
The lamp above me puts me in a
Sick haze but I can just step away from it
And restore the night.

I move across the courtyard
And onto the door, I hover
Over the handle with my key.
I am making myself known.
Beyond the front door
There’s a Vietnamese man
rolling newspapers on the floor
and he doesn’t stop to
notice my feet moving across his
peripheral vision, he just keeps
making telescopes with the news.
I keep walking,
I look back at the top of his head
once more.
I make it around one wall to the elevator door,
It arrives, and I hop in.
Oh, he’s getting into the elevator with me
With all of those papers under his arm
And now we should feel forced to interact,
small rooms, closed doors,
But this place, it’s all without association
and it’s just a wooden building.
It’s just people asleep, people calling it home.
But it’s not mine so I figure I won’t see him again
So we don’t say anything.
I press “two” and he presses “three” and the giant box hums
Underneath our feet.
I leave the elevator,
I leave him behind.
I forget him all together.
But you see, you can’t
Always simply leave a stranger behind.

I walk down the corridor,
I’m barely awake now,
are my eyes open?
and I get to this door,
This door that leads to a place
Synonymous with you and yet it
Looks like a dozen doors I’ve seen before
And I jam another key into the lock
And I turn it, I turn it,
And it’s not turning.
So I look down at the key and
I examine the teeth and I look at the keyhole
And what am I doing?
I have a lot of keys but it’s dawn and
People are sleeping and I need to
Find a way in so finally I look up.
the numbers beside me
Read 106.
106 as in I’m on the first floor.
106 as in I was led astray by a machine,
106 as in suddenly I’m beginning to understand the
meaning of home, I’m beginning to understand
that I have no idea
where
home
is.

Now I’m wondering where that Vietnamese man went,
unbelievable, he’s my only point of reference,
And I get back on the elevator and make my way to the second floor
But really, who knows what floor that is.
It doesn’t matter. He could be anywhere by now.

The next evening, I came home around the same time.
And then the night begins to feel less coincidental as I walk through
The courtyard, sickened by the lamp and
again
Restored by the night
And approaching the door,
approaching the lobby,
The Vietnamese man there,
Crouched over his papers
Making origami with the news.
So I continue on, around the corner
To the elevator door and again
He’s behind me and
We arrive at a moment that is not
At all new.
But it’s still just coincidence so
We stand silent and I step out
When the door opens.
I get to the door, I turn
Turn
Turn
Turn around, it’s 106.
The sleeping body behind the door
Knows that rattling by now. That’s why no one comes after me
As I run away down the hall. 106 has no concern, not
Enough to get up, even though
It is dawn and no one should be coming home and shaking down
Their door
At this point in the morning.
And especially not coming home to
A room into which you are not allowed.
Twice.
Twice, Is anyone expecting me?
Not as friend, lover, sister—reappearing to you as
Stranger.

Falling into bed, it is not what is
Comforting. I think about 106
Below me, acknowledging each other’s
Strange existence through heavy hallucinations
That there may not be any
Thing between us after all.
I guess a stranger looks like
home to me.

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