“The Doors of Then” a poem by Shawnelle Alley

 The Doors of Then

Shawnelle Alley [Shawnelle@theAlleys.us]

It wasn’t a dream, but it repeated


Blurred together like finger-paint memories
Cement gray floors of confinement, tears fall
Where chunks are missing, though time crawls forward
Hugging splotchy white cinderblock walls
Rays of anticipation peek through rotting windows
Their musty lover growing moldy black specs
Clinging, like little sisters to their solid love

Because dog collar necklaces leave choking bruises
Insecure small hands fumble to release secure anxiety
If blood promises are truth dripping off tiny finger tips
Then open space is the prize of dark secrets kept
Where understanding is deeper than dirt, or a basement
You can tell me anything, because we shared everything

Grimy cold feet tiptoe bare, past creaky boards
Climbing the ladder of hope called, “This is but a dream”
Maybe locks click free with rusty nails, or birthday wishes
Gobbled up early, and so be it if cake snacks heal fear
On the other side of deadbolt locks, and streaked cheeks
Or whispered promises of more pain if we tell stories

So we sing and rock


Killing sleepy-time monsters for years to come
When nightmares plagued girls with fading steps
And demon tethers, strangling breath
They punch the lock to tear down the door, setting free what should be
Putting hate in solitary confinement, watching it grow moldy
Blurring the lines of what could have been with who they’ve become
Finger painters, filling in chunks with love on open space
Like rays of hope in shadowy places

Author: Jeff

I teach English at Westside High School and Composition at Metropolitan Community College. I have been an online editor for Fine Lines since we revamped to Wordpress some time in 2009.