I hear a knock at the door,
but I am busy, I have a lot to do,
a lot to think about.

The world outside will have to wait.
What does it matter to me
if a couple sit on a blanket

in the park across the street,
if yellow leaves are falling?
Again, someone knocking,

louder this time. This is not new,
I have heard the knocking
many times

for what might be months, years,
sometimes soft, almost a touch,
a caress, sometimes a peremptory tap,

sometimes frantic banging and shouting.
It’s all the same, I am working,
I will not be disturbed.

Peaches moulder in the blue china bowl.
The house is silent now.
How long have I been sitting here

as the shadows lengthen?
When did I last hear anything,
anything at all?

This quiet that is also a disquiet
presses upon me,
and I do an unusual thing,

I get up from my chair, I go to the door.
I turn the handle,
and the door swings inward.

In the doorway, fitted to the frame,
is another closed door.
One with no handle.

Who would build such a thing,
without my knowledge?
Who would do this to me?

I have harmed no one.
I give the door a push,
but it doesn’t move.

I knock, and wait,
but nobody answers.
I knock harder.

F&S Web

Tim Upperton

Tim Upperton’s second poetry collection,‘The Night We Ate The Baby’, was an Ockham New Zealand Book Awards finalist in 2016. His poems feature in numerous anthologies, including ‘The Best of Best New Zealand Poems’ (2011) and ‘Essential New Zealand Poems’ (2014). His third poetry collection will be published by Auckland University Press in 2022. He lives in possibly the oldest house in Palmerston North with his dog, cat, and two chickens.