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Ray Gonzalez: Two Poems
When Meeting Love | The Green Door

When Meeting Love

When meeting love, pretend
the wiser destruction never took place,

the draped body turning to face you,
its deep locket afraid to spring open,

your fingers colder than the dawn where
traces of love were thought to exist.

When meeting love, insist the dumber
dance is a tool to the other side of dreaming

where you don't need permission to disappear,
where the body is undraped, bare torso

a coat of white light your lips kissed
when it was easier to sleep.

When meeting love, work for a third or fourth
chance, the pond of leaves stirring with what

you tossed there, its trajectory an arc toward
partnership, its beauty a fragment of love

you allowed, its nectar cleansing your legs,
the iris standing out of the water,

the stalk leaving the body because
there is nothing else to touch.

The Green Door

The green door opened
when the grandmother died.
It led into a room swarming
with saguaros, Spanish daggers,
the green flesh of thorns
that suffocated the family
until they closed the door.

The green door opened
when salt rained on the roof,
the doorway illuminated as
a rectangular tower of light
that blinded the crickets as
they leaped into the fire.

The green door opened
when the war took one son.
It revealed an empty room
where water leaked through
the walls to form a perfect
image of a crying woman.

The green door opened
when the floorboards squeaked
with a heavy weight, footsteps
following themselves to
a window shut for years.
When the glass was broken,
the door opened wider.

The green door opened
when the doorknob was stolen,
the antique ivory carried in
someone's hands to prove
there was a passage to
the four corners of the house.

The door was finally locked
when the green paint started peeling,
its frame warping in the sun
to make room for new occupants
who knew nothing about the past,
their shadows and laughter keeping
the door closed for a hundred years.

Poet's Biography:
  Ray Gonzalez is the author of 7 books of poetry, including Turtle Pictures, which won a Minnesota Book Award. His most recent book, The Hawk Temple at Tierra Grande, has been nominated for The Pulitzer Prize. Mr. Gonzalez was a judge for the National Poetry Series, has served on the board of directors for the Associate Writing Programs, and founded Luna, a literary arts journal that he still edits. Among his awards are a Fellowship in Poetry from the Illinois Arts Council, the PEN-Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award for Excellence in Literature, and the President's Multicultural Research Award. He teaches poetry in the creative writing program at the University of Minnesota.

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