ANECDOTE OF THE TRIBE
In the wilderness, a door stands upright.
Its paint peeling, its knob a little loose.
We put a palm of dead bees beside it
to remind the trees of what it is to be young.
There’s more to being human
than painting pictures of birds coming back to us.
A mother, who sleeps without a blanket
like a cat on a dock, goes back to her hut
holding a child’s toy horse. The women weep
until they remember they are women.
Suppose the worst happens, and the door
opens, and a hundred white moths flicker into the night.
This story is not the story they’d tell
their children, but more like a bowl of water
divided into bowls. We found it by moonlight,
carried rugs, surrounded it to take turns saying,
I’ll pass every man on the road to his village. Every time
I try to open the door there’s another child we call wolf.
Justin Boening is the author of Self-Portrait as Missing Person, which was selected by Dara Wier for a Poetry Society of America National Chapbook Fellowship. He’s currently finishing his first full-length collection in Lewisburg, PA with support from Bucknell University, where he’s the Roth Resident at the Stadler Center for Poetry.