The Second Front Door: A Poem

OCTOBER 27, 2018

This poem will appear in a future issue of the LARB Print Quarterly Journal

To receive the LARB Quarterly Journal, become a member  or  donate here. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony
What is a house
if not a home a horror
a whore could leap out
any time from a virgin’s
skin            so they said before burning
the hand over her mouth
knock knock who’s there
what is a door
if not a way out
only a way in       oh you
can never leave     the way
you came
after we’re finished
the hand
over your mouth
what is an attic what
a basement and knock knock
the family room the trophies
the TV the hearth
in the ‘80s there are certain options
the cable box              knock knock
who’s there
no second door
and a hand over her mouth
no second door
& no clear way out
from the bedroom
on the second floor
and a hand over her mouth
the bathing suit a single piece                                 
the birthday suit a single piece
a butcher could scan for places to joint
knock knock
who’s there
a terrible thing
at the edge
of a laughing eye
even you see it
you there
in the room you there
looking away
can we work this out
at the gym 
can we score and score
again and always win
can we work this out
through the law
can we unveil a truth
in the agora
and when the architect says what
what do you want      & oh
you want an irrational thing
no design no plan includes it
never before
knock knock who’s there
at the second front door
there’s a tightness in my unraped chest
a drunken flex in his anus                                                   
the best of the best
what is between us
between men
& boys and girls
pejorocracy rising
polis oikos eros eris
why don’t you look at me look
look at me at look at this
second front door
I do not choke down
these words
the schoolchildren draw
a modal house
and never oh never
in the house that jack built
the schematic house
with one or two floors
some windows, a roof, a door
is there oh is there
a second front door
no no never before
had anyone heard
of a second front door
don’t you see it now
see it now
built in the mind
the second front door
Maureen N. McLane is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Some Say (FSG, 2017). Her selected poems, What I’m Looking For, is coming out from Penguin UK in 2019.  She salutes Dr. ¤

The Second Front Door
            — after Dr. Ford, her courage, her integrity, and her civic commitment.