Knock, Knock!

4 Apr


Knock, Knock!

by L. Stewart Marsden


Knock, knock!
When I was a kid someone in the house would yell,
“C’mon in!”
And, in you would go.
(Actually, I wouldn’t knock.
I’d just go in).

And if it was Mrs. Sloop’s house,
There’d be a plate of saltines
Smeared with creamy peanut butter
And a glass or two of lemonade or milk
Ringing wet circles at the bottom
On the plastic laminated kitchen table.

Knock, knock!
When I was a teen with pimply face
And Bylcreemed hair
And quarts of Canoe from head to toe
With a vial of Binaca
And two crumped cigarettes
In my top pocket
The Father would open the door
And I would lose my voice and my bravado.

Knock, knock!
Can I come in?
Your college letter’s here and I’m so
So excited!
Open it and
We will see que sera, sera!

Knock, knock!
At the door of my boss
Who sent me a message
Asked me to come
And I tried to think of what
I might have done,
Or what I might have done
And what I might have to do.

Knock, knock!
On the labor room door
Very softly
And I hear
“C’mon in”
And she is there with towel-dried
Tiny fingered prototype
Of our combined ancestry,
Latched on and suckling
Dear, dear life.

Knock, knock!
An officer with not good news
Of alcohol and speed
And metal and flesh
And “Can you come identify?”
And hearts and souls implode.

Knock, knock!
“Come in”
And we begin
The ritual of dividing up and
Handing over and
Unwrapping wrapped hopes and dreams
That somehow grew cold and old and stale.

Knock, knock!
I need to see some proof of who
You say you are;
I’ve been fooled before,
Hence the dead bolt and the double-latch
And three door chains
And a tiny scope bored through
The middle of my door.

Knock, knock!
Please, please go away.
I’m all hooked up and everything
Is beeping and whirring.
The damned nurse keeps prodding
And squeezing
And nodding knowingly to gathered strangers
Who look hurt and pained
Around my bed.

Knock, knock!
It’s you!
What the hell took so long?
C’mon in!
Let’s get going!

Knock, knock!

*****  *****?

******  ***?
Orange you glad
I didn’t say “banana?”

I’m comin’ in!

Day Four of the National Poetry Month Poem a Day challenge.


3 Responses to “Knock, Knock!”

  1. Dave April 4, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    “Tiny fingered prototype
    Of our combined ancestry,
    Latched on and suckling
    Dear, dear life.”

    These words describe the joy and wonder of a newborn so very well. Beautiful, imaginative prose, in a concise format. Very moving…

    • skipmars April 4, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

      Tomorrow’s poem is entitled, “Second-Hand Andy,” which I think you will find fun!

  2. skipmars June 8, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    Reblogged this on Writing Odds n Ends and commented:

    I’m sifting through my poetry, looking for poems to combine into what I’ll entitle “Slices.” This one is long, but I do like it as an overview of a person’s life, from the simple to the complex and back to the simple. The touchstone is “Knock, knock,” from the jokes we have all told and laughed at during our lives.

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