Winter 2024 • Vol. XLVI No. 1 Poetry |

One Hundred and Eight Doors

Open, the door is what it is not. Orpheus looked back from a door too soon and tore himself into O. Once a woman pierced an apple to eat god-flesh. Once a woman pierced me. She sewed the hole with a lock of her hair and unspooling, mouthed, This way I can always return to you. If we are all searching for a door. If every door is a wound mistaken for a meadow. The monk knocked. Who wakes the House of Lotus? I, your lover. The flower drowned in the lake of tears. The eye is the door to sins, said the Book of God. The eye shall be killed, said the Man of God, and emptied two oil lamps into his eyes. The devotees asked him, on his deathbed, for a final teaching. I wish to look at my eyes one last time . . . For the door is what it keeps out. For the door bisects every desire. Beneath every threshold: bones of a nation buried alive. The lintel carved with names writ in swallowed passports. The martyr is a witness—for whom? The door cannot remember its mother tongue, so it

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Photo of Samyak Shertok

Samyak Shertok’s poems appear or are forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review, The Gettysburg Review, Gulf Coast, The Iowa Review, The Kenyon Review, New England Review, Poetry, Best New Poets, Waxwing, and elsewhere. A finalist for the National Poetry Series, the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, and the Jake Adam York Prize, Shertok has received fellowships from Aspen Words, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. His work has been awarded the Robert and Adele Schiff Award for Poetry, the Gulf Coast Prize in Poetry, and the Auburn Witness Poetry Prize. Originally from Nepal, Shertok holds a PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Utah and is currently a Hughes Fellow in Creative Writing at Southern Methodist University.

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