Iris Jamahl Dunkle currently lives and works in Northern California.  She received her M.F.A. from New York University and her Ph.D. in English from Case Western Reserve University in 2010.  Her chapbook Inheritance was published by Finishing Line Press in June 2010.  Her work has also appeared in numerous publications including:  Fence, Boxcar Poetry Review, Kaleidowhirl, SNReview, Thin Air, Eaden Water’s Press Home Anthology, Hessler 2006 Poetry & Prose Annual, Cleveland in Prose and Poetry, and The Squaw Valley Writers Review. Her chapter on the cultural context of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar will be published by Salem Press in 2011.

Door Poem Between the Self and the Heart

There is a great expanse of blue and somewhere, on that horizon is a great gift:
a mite in the eye, a begin again.

This is on the threshold of           a door poem.
The door moans          as old wood does

This close, I can see the whirls of its intricate grains--
I can feel the hard stand          that old guard     of its cells        those little soldiers                       against me--

But time, and the blue cloak that continually passes above our heads, was on my side.

I wasn’t some drunken girl begging on the sandpaper pavement for it
or redemption
it was me I was talking to, after all
and what existed on the other side of that door was, well, unknowable.

That’s when it happened:      
I looked up
I pulled the two scythe moons of my eyes up to meet whatever gods and names the paint-by-

number sky could dream up

and I bloomed like a god-damned hyacinth:

the constellations of my skin,
the nebulous clouds of my mind
the dark, brooding unknown

aligned until, that door wasn’t anything more than a door.