Lessons of Doors, Sarah Zale

Today she will paint another door.

It is white. She has tolerated white for years,

thinking the house might sell. They say it is best.

Everyone likes


white. Colors she never imagined

line store walls on paper strips. She fans

a pile of blues like a deck of cards. Water rises

to her knees. She is full


of regrets. Pick a card—as if this is

a trick. She settles on red and wide brushes.

A small can of paint. She does not think

she will ever open it. She pays the clerk


with a joker. The door leans

against the garage. She is uncertain if

it is the inside or out. She extends her left

then right arm. Without hinges and handle,


it is impossible to remember. The painting

goes well. Truths come in wet glides

of the brush. The first coat dries like questions.

The second explains shade


and sun and the fatal attraction of gnats.

She has painted all her doors. The puzzle

of inside or out is clear. She knows

all the colors: biscuit, sepia,


rust. Carmine, Titian red, damask

rose. Saffron, ocher. Avocado, cerulean,

plum, xanthic, mauve and puce. When it rains,

she reflects on the art


of coming and going. She sees

the way drops cling then run down glass.

She picks at the paint beneath her nails

and thinks about walls.



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