by Marjorie Maddox 

“Entamaphobia...similar to Agoraphobia or
the fear of open doors [but] people are afraid
of all kinds of doors irrespective of whether
they are closed or open.”

“Agoraphobia” it’s not—unless
you open up the word to different doors
that open/close, close/open on a past
of choices clicking shut. There’s always more

in closets cracked an inch: old fears peer out
as boogey men or crones—those glowing eyes
that watch you in the dark, your muffled shout
unable to dispel all you deny

or contradict. And even when you teach
a story’s truth—vast travels of the mind,
the distant lands our aging bodies reach
through books—the meaning shifts, words won’t align

until you shut class doors, decide who can
and can’t walk in. The space is yours, open

to possibilities. The noisy hall’s
another country left behind. The room
expands by being closed, the students all
on board to someplace else….so with the poem

that opens/closes, lets your visions in
or keeps doubt out. There’s freedom in the form.
“Entamaphobia” it’s not. Define
the word again as not just any door

but any opening not controlled by you,
since you decide to exit and explore
each corner of the earth or page. Pursue
the line, the rhyme, the road, what came before,

what enters next. Your turn to choose: Open,
step out or, now, step in and close. Begin.

Professor of English at LHU, Marjorie Maddox has published 13 poetry collections—most recently Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation, Begin with a Question, and Heart Speaks, Is Spoken For—What She Was Saying (stories); 4 children’s/YA books, including Inside Out: Poems on Writing and Reading Poems with Insider Exercises—and Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania.