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  • Vigil of the Door
  • Preston Mark Stone (bio)

I surrender to the second law of thermodynamics, the law of dishes that dirty themselves. I surrender to my front door that blows open no matter

what I do, ensuring I heat the world. Every night is the vigil, an hour of sleep, a few minutes of shivering awake to rise, check

the latch, and shut. At midnight, I stand in the doorway and turn the handle, watching the latch piston in and out. At one o'clock,

I lurch out of bed, remembering a dream of a woman I loved doing my dishes. At two, I wake and feel myself bleeding

heat. At three o'clock, I dream of a woman in my bed, her hands wet. I shut the door, check the stove, and see the clean plates

softened with dust. At four, I dream of myself rising to shut the door and returning to bed to dream of engines. At five, I dream

of engines: the house is a series of doors, my body pistoning back and forth, shutting one door and opening another, standing at the sink or falling

into bed. The bed is its own house, visited by women who vanish almost as soon as they appear, pistons pumping a stuttering engine. My body is an engine

that hacks and shudders, and I return to it, standing at its threshold, checking its hinges, crossbeams, cylinders and fuel, then falling into it as I would fall [End Page 46]

into a woman. It's almost dawn. The door stands open, and the sink is full. I surrender to the door. Let the heat bleed out and the light pour in.

Let the town begin. Let them return to their bodies and leave to master machines, hammer out wonders, burn metal underwater, trap lightning, siphon steel from stone. Let them keep vigil

over thresholds, beating back weeds in the sidewalk, dirt in the street, the dead in their bodies, the cold around and above us. The awful space into which

we dissipate. The dust and gas, all the dumb luck.

Preston Mark Stone

Preston Mark Stone’s work has appeared in the Red River Review, Lumina and the Crab Creek Review. He holds an MA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College and was a winter fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where many of these poems were written.



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