At the Door

1373468581744I had a new experience in my pantry volunteering this week.  The coordinators are out of town, so Joe and I made the Wednesday morning pickup of perishable items nearing expiration at a local grocery store.  As instructed, we went to the back door and phoned the store’s main number to be given entry  Standing in the hot sun, waiting for the door to be opened, made me think about the pantry patrons who line up in all weather, sometimes hours in advance of our 1:00 pm start, at which point they receive a number and take a seat inside.  Numbers are called in order first so they can register, then again to actually go through and select food in the pantry.  Waiting to be let in to receive surplus food felt distinctly different, I noticed, than going through the automatic door, grabbing a cart and wandering through the aisles.  The experience invites reflection on autonomy and control, vulnerability and dependence, power and relationships.   And it made me think of a poem I came across last week in  The Practice of Poetry, which I have been working with as part of the writing class I’m taking this summer.

The Door
The door locks
the outside in,
the inside out.
It divides space
into time, the drab
present from the promise
of the future. As it opens
and the darkness pours out
and the light floods in,
or night pours into darkness —
it into you
and you into it —
it makes you realize
there is no reason
for a door, that opened or
closed, absent or present
it is there and not there.

By Jack Myers

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