From the collection Picture Making, published 2017. The three photos served as the inspiration for the poem. For more information, look here.



The façade of the house
is as blank as
a face determined to see past you.
The front door
is shut tight
and layered over by a metal barred gate-door.
The kind of set-up you see
wherever people feel afraid of
who might knock.

Here at this house
you stand on the tiny concrete stoop.
You knock.
You have the
a spotlight is shining on you
though it’s broad daylight. You squint
in the glare of the scrutiny you know
is coming at you
from the other side of the door.
You knock again. It’s me, you say,
voice raised to show no menace.
Let me in
I’ve brought the groceries
you wanted.
You hear what you expected to hear:
Leave them on the porch
Leave them.

You set the bags down
There are only two of them.
you step away from the door
your shoes making no sound as you
move down the street
wearing a blank face.


5 thoughts on “Transaction

  1. Great poem. It’s very atmospheric and there’s a tension you sustain throughout. I like the idea of the barrier door being there to protect the resident from something while it’s also intimidating to those approaching the door.

    • Thank you. I have thought lots about those metal gate doors and the message they give, especially when I know they are usually flimsy and not much protection, and/or are in places I trust in others around me and feel at home. And then there are places where a barrier is needed. Then we get into symbolic barriers. The whole subject just fascinates me, trust, community, and protecting ourselves, all mixed together.

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