woman in a doorway
by dm gillis
There’s a derelict building, at a corner where two empty streets cross. It’s built in an old style, and was once filled with art; ideas, oceans and the joy of creation. Then plague came, and creation died. Now the building stands empty and without windows, with the wind yelling out in its rooms.
When I stand on the corner, I see a woman in a doorway. She sees nothing, I know, and remains still, even when I touch her hair. She’s a ghost sign, a recounting of a small event in a small life. A backward image, left behind in a floral wartime dress, young and serene in her moment. I’ve wondered if I love her.
To be homeless is to live in a different city, to walk an edge that’s cut into the circle of the world, begging, finding yourself in plate glass. Here, I hunker down and sleep in steel corners, invisible to evil and street Christians driven mad by creed.
Here, I divide time with a knife. There are decades in my belly, and monsters eating decades. I hold screams in my hands.
Stepping out of an alley, I see the woman in the doorway. Birds in empty windows, creeping like fascists, whispering like outlaws. There are no gardens here. No moon. The trees have walked away.
I cross the street and stand with my ear to her heart. Does she breathe? Then sit down on the stoop next to her, and look away. There’s a streetlight in the next block, and then planets.