You must build doors

to invite people in


is what they’ve told me

since the funeral,


but these are coddled,



idiots, the open

floor plans of people.


They lust after beige:

plush-carpet beige,


nice and wanting

nothing. What I want


is to pause

for caterpillars


and talk to them

like we talked


to her in hospice.

You look for twigs


to coax them

to grass, deliver them


from the threat

of neighborhood kids


who love nothing

inside their rooms


and would murder

for candy, or pets


they would let die.

They are too young


to love a better way.

To close these doors


built to nowhere,

doors flung open


just for them

to hurtle through.


Emily Kingery

Emily Kingery is an Associate Professor of English at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, where she teaches courses in literature, writing, and linguistics. Her work appears or is forthcoming in multiple literary journals, including Eastern Iowa Review, Gingerbread House, High Shelf Press, New South, PROEM, Prometheus Dreaming, Quercus, and Telepoem Booth, and she has been a Pushcart Prize nominee. She serves on the Board of Directors at the Midwest Writing Center, a non-profit organization that supports writers in the Quad Cities community.

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