Wednesday, June 13, 2012


These locks on doors have brought me happiness:
The lock on the door of the sewing machine in the living room
Of a tiny hut in which I was living with a mad seamstress;
The lock on the filling station one night when I was drunk
And had the idea of enjoying a nip of petroleum;
The lock on the family of seals, which, when released, would have bitten;
The lock on the life raft when I was taking a bath instead of drowning;
The lock inside the nose of the contemporary composer who was playing
   the piano and would have ruined his concert by sneezing, while I was
   turning pages;
The lock on the second hump of a camel while I was not running out of
   water in the desert;
The lock on the fish hatchery the night we came up from the beach
And were trying to find a place to spend the night-it was full of
   contagious fish;
The lock on my new necktie when I was walking through a stiff wind
On my way to an appointment at which I had to look neat and simple;
The lock on the foghorn the night of the lipstick parade-
If the foghorn had sounded, everyone would have run inside before the
   most beautiful contestant appeared;
The lock in my hat when I saw her and which kept me from tipping it,
Which she would not have liked, because she believed that naturalness
   was the most friendly;
The lock on the city in which we would not have met anyone we knew;
The lock on the airplane which was flying without a pilot
Above Miami Beach on the night when I unlocked my bones
To the wind, and let the gales of sweetness blow through me till
   I shuddered and shook
Like a key in a freezing hand, and run up into the Miami night air like a
The lock on the hayfield, which kept me from getting out of bed
To meet the hayfield committee there; the lock on the barn, that kept the
   piled-up hay away from me;
The lock on the mailboat that kept it from becoming a raincoat
On the night of the thunderstorm; the lock on the sailboat
That keeps it from taking me away from you when I am asleep with you,
And, when I am not, that lock on my sleep, that keeps me from waking and
   finding you are not there.

Kenneth Koch

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