When I Walk Through The Door

If I line up words

with one or two syllables

and hard consonants

until they become

a boy chasing a ball,

a car driving too fast,

you can nearly hear

the sound a father hears

that makes him turn

his head so he can see

his son’s body twist

across the road, thud

against the curb. If you like,

you could be the father,

watch the car slow down,

the driver look back, see

the red tip of a cigarette

dot the twilight before

the driver turns back

around and keeps going.

You could be a neighbor

opening a door, standing

on front steps as lights

throb against brick houses

and cops ask questions. Or maybe

you could be the man’s wife,

Laura, who moans the boy’s name

and won’t let anyone touch her.

She wants to know why

her husband couldn’t keep

her child safe. He wishes

he could tell her about the girl

next door, sixteen years old,

with her cut off tee shirt,

belly button ring and how

good she looked walking

across the just watered lawn

the moment the car hit

their son. He wants to believe

that saying those words

out loud, telling the truth

now will make him

someday feel better. Me?

I could be the driver, turning

slowly down my block,

pulling into the garage.

I will sit in the car

with the motor running,

playing with the lighter

until I can remember

the kinds of things

I’m supposed to say

to my wife, my daughter

when I walk through the door.

Originally published in The Ledge.

Tony Gloeggler is a life-long resident of New York City and managed group homes for the mentally challenged in Brooklyn for 40. years. He’s retired now pretending he’s happy being older and wiser. His work has appeared in Rattle, Chiron Review, New Ohio Review, Nerve Cowboy crab Creek Review. His most recent book, What Kind Of Man published by NYQ Books and a finalist for the 2020 Paterson Poetry Prize.