“Open and Closed Doors” & “To My Hand Scrawled Lines in the Hospital” by Matthew McGuirk



Open and Closed Doors


The door of my childhood home is now worn,

too many scratch marks from this dog or that one

before we put a hole right through the wall so they could go in and out.

Now the porch is more of a breezeway, no 4 seasons,

or even 3 about it

and I wonder how much else has changed.


The door of my first apartment still smells of

weed floating down from upstairs.

There’s a couple lost coins buried in the loose soil

where that kid got shot over a dime bag.


The door to my in-laws’ basement was once our front door,

when money was tight and it was convenient enough.

We didn’t lock it and they didn’t lock theirs,

but I wonder if they got sick of our cat sneaking up when

we went to the laundry room

or if I ate a slice too much of the pizza

when they invited us up.


The door of our house now is glass

because there’s a view…something we always wanted

and birds picking at scattered seeds around a feeder

and a lawn that needs cutting because there’s always

something more important to do.




To My Hand Scrawled Lines in the Hospital


You’re typed now and moved out,

making a home in this magazine or that one

and have an added http before your title,

but I think I liked you better back then:

written in rough handwriting

in a notebook with a couple curling pages

and the spiral binding catching on an overstuffed backpack;

the missing e, misspellings

and a scratching from a pen that wouldn’t

quite work.

The words that came quickly

even after 36 hours without sleep,

written in a pen and mind that

didn’t care about tired eyes anyways.



Matt McGuirk teaches and lives with his family in New Hampshire. BOTN 2021 nominee and regular contributor for Fevers of the Mind with words in 50+ lit mags, 100+ accepted pieces and a debut collection with Alien Buddha Press called Daydreams, Obsessions, Realities on Amazon. http://linktr.ee/McGuirkMatthew Twitter: @McguirkMatthew Instagram: @mcguirk_matthew.