On leaving the barn door open / by Risa Denenberg
In 1994, when Leonard Cohen danced
me to the end of love, then split and holed up
for six years on Mount Baldy, afraid of losing
nothing, which he never found, I missed him
as sorely as I missed my son, kidnapped
from my arms; the woman who left me loveless;
and my amethyst ring, lost on a Greyhound bus.
I’ve decomposed my losses by leaning
on imagery and verse, by my own version
of hermitude, by renouncing ordinary eros.
Which is how I learned about the barn door
and came to accept that matter and energy
are neither, but something else altogether.
Though soon enough physicists changed up
on me with their quantum astigmatism,
and I failed meditation 101, unable to sit
zazen without a titter, and still haven’t learned
to use my inside voice. It’s the slight headache,
the worry that I’ve lived the wrong life, the fear
of not being able to fill my days with thoughts,
the fear of not being able to stop thoughts,
the thought itself, like a scapel cutting
into the white matter of my brain,
saying, this here is an irreversible mistake.
There will be no do-overs. I’ll limp through two
more decades without conjugation of any sort.
If you fear your losses,
leave the barn door open
so you won’t be disappointed
when the horses are gone.