Jennifer Sperry Steinorth

[let the patient describe a door]

[ let the patient describe a door ] in the dark I am not going to I do not know if I am going to I am certainly not going to lay down I will have to pull back the blanket I pulled back of course I would not say yes of course the blanket was tightly pressed between the mattress & the boxspring such is the weight of a mattress a spring a spring such is its lumber it was the room that required sleep sleep ing is how one can slip into no one wants to sleep alone atop a boxspring sound as a drumbeat beat beat   beat beat   beat

[ let the patient describe a door ] what does not open can be a relief or a blemish there were tchotchkes for every season & pillows stitched w/messages it takes time to stitch a message I don’t like to come here he likes me to come here to come is the message game a secret I’m not ready let’s start again resend the message do you prefer color or texture I want to choose I came in my dress my dress should know better don’t you agree say please I’ll do better I will I must he won’t tell what’s in my hope chest anyway who says it’s mine

[ let the patient describe a door ] in the dark is a fan not turn ing if there is sound it is not out loud I said it’s true then I’m not him he said I’m sorry dark too dark to move too close to see in his eyes a mild poison mild ordinary want some coffee dark so dark there is no laundry there is no counter blessed w/ crumbs what do they say I said in the spinning darksome stars our sheets turn colors it’s like humidity dark but dry it is not love but still it holds us tight as shadow that’s not what I said

Jennifer Sperry Steinorth is a poet, educator, collaborative artist, and licensed builder. Her
poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Colorado Review, Four Way Review, The Journal, jubilat, Michigan Quarterly Review, Mid-American Review, Poetry Northwest, Sixth Finch, Quarterly West and elsewhere. She has received grants from the Sewanee Writers Conference, The Vermont Studio Center, and Warren Wilson College whence an MFA in poetry. She was recently a Writers@Work Poetry Fellow and won The Connecticut River Review Poetry Prize. She lives in northern Michigan. Find her at