To hear the poet read “In the Blue Room:” click.
A doorknob turns on the closet door.
A boy wakes to the chick of the latch
And opens his eyes, and in the blue light
From the window sees, or thinks he sees,
The door open an inch or two, no more.
The boy should leap from bed but can’t.
Blue bureau, blue bedframe, blue chalkboard
Whose dust rubs off when touched,
White as the speechlessness in fear.
The boy should run down the hall but won’t.
From the large bedroom across the hall,
A man’s voice, a woman’s voice, arguing.
Their voices paint streaks across his room
Like the red streamers inside jellyfish.
Every night he hears them he’s afraid
The man’s voice will sting the woman’s,
Or the woman’s voice will sting the man’s.
So he dangles his feet over the bedside
And makes the bed a raft, the voices
Sloshing on his lap and swirling green.
It feels good sitting waist-deep in this water.
Jellyfish, he whispers, a see-through word,
A seaflower floating in the shallows. Jellyfish–
Until he’s not afraid of anything, not even
The door he must have dreamed was opening.