Poetry April 2010

The Latch

After scraping eighty-three-year-old paint from four screw heads
holding the latch in place on the studio door,
and, having steadied the door on one out-thrust hip and running
the pointed tip of a kitchen knife around the lock-box to break the seal
of paint, your neighbor patiently removed each screw with the right-size,
old-fashioned screwdriver he had brought and jiggled the lock free
so he could pry open its metal back and fish out the broken spring,
the small, dark, steel coil and its detached tongue,
which could be replaced, he thought, by an antiquarian locksmith
on the other side of town in la rue du Courreau—
though the latch will be too late to keep in or out
the man who abandoned this house, and the good and ill spirits he courted here.

Presented by

Rosanna Warren’s recent books include Fables of the Self: Studies in Lyric Poetry (2008) and Departure: Poems (2003). She teaches at Boston University.

Photos of New York City, in Motion

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this flip-book tour of the Big Apple.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Photos of New York City, in Motion

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this flip-book tour of the Big Apple.

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open For 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.
More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In