The Hallway

I’m still in the hallway,
waiting for the door of my prayers
to be opened.
on the other side
are all the things I want –
joy, peace, the feeling of being understood.
I patiently wait,
I don’t fiddle with locks,
I sit in this cramped, narrow space –
knees bent and toes resting on the moldings.
gazing idly up at the skylight,
like a child who has woken up too early
and is waiting for its parents to come
usher in the morning.
before I came here,
I passed through another door
whose hinges were rusted
from being shut for so long,
and it brought me to another hallway.
no one ever told me
how much of our lives
is spent in these hallways,
in the movies it’s all about doors.
in the books it’s all about doors.
there is no music written
about the quiet passage of time
spent in endless in-between.
most of us
are packed like sardines
in this long hallway.
sitting head to toe
alongside one another,
taking care not to step
on each other’s feet.
I hear some people
pounding on the door at midnight.
and some are slumped,
chin to chest,
exhausted by the waiting.
I have made some friends here,
we trace patterns on the walls
and notice cobwebs in the corners –
the wisps of it turning colors as it catches the light.
when sitting is too difficult
we stand and stretch,
our joints popping.
so much of this life
is smiling at things no one notices,
of opening my ears
to hear someone sing.
of not wanting, or waiting, or racing ahead.
remaining still and silent,
and then opening gradually –
I am the door.

Rachel Danziger teaches middle school English. In addition to poetry and prose, her hobbies include art, hiking, and studying Jewish mysticism. She lives in New York with her family.

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