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Just Because I Know The Architecture Of My Closet Doesn’t Mean I Want To Go Back

The first time I even 
saw the door was 
right before I chose 
to leave

It seemed unworthy, 
with its cheap pine, 
of a grand exit so
I tunneled under it

My coming out 
was an evacuation

It made sense
as the voices from 
under the floorboards 
had always been so 

The ground will eventually 
have us all, so why not 
shake the boards above us 
in stomp/stomping joy?

I was ready for the world
 as I had already done all 
my dying inside
the vaulted ceiling
with so many low
hanging beams that seemed to sing:

This is what you deserve, yet 
will still condemn you to hell

but the steeples held no heaven 
and hell/the floorboards/earth 
were always warmer, so I took 
30 some odd years to dig
dig my way out/communed 
and learned from the dirt
life comes up from the ground 
not down from the heavens
and I am still emerging

I don’t have to
look back to know
the door and the floorboards
and the beams and the catacombs 
have all burned/ash sown the earth 
and in its place now stands a meadow 
the most fitting of tombstones

                                                —Paulie Lipman

Paulie Lipman is a former bartender/bouncer/record store employee/Renaissance Faire worker/two time National Poetry Slam finalist and a current loud Jewish/Queer/ poet/writer/performer. His work has appeared in the anthology We Will Be Shelter (Write Bloody Publishing) as well as The Emerson Review, Drunk In A Midnight Choir, Voicemail Poems, Protimluv, and Prisma (Zeitblatt Fur Text & Sprache).